Virgin America tunes up with YSlow
Soaring open source skies
Me and my... Firefox plug in Ravi Simhambhatla's latest project employing open source has been to juice up the web site for Virgin America, the US's newest carrier, so travelers can surf smoothly and purchase tickets without waiting for pages to build.
Virgin America relies heavily on the power of virginameica.com, which pulls in 80 per cent of sales, with 150,000 unique hits a day in the week and 100,000 at weekends.
While Virgin America was this month voted one of America's top five airlines in Zagat's annual survey of carriers, though, the domestic web site came fourth.
That's not bad going, considering Virgin America only started flying in August and it made the top five against bigger and more established rivals. Plus, Simhambhatla and his IT team had to roll out the company's IT infrastructure at the last minute, as it wasn't certain until close to the launch date that Sir Richard Branson's latest venture would even gain US regulatory approval. However, there's clearly room for improvement if Virgin's web site is to match the same levels demanded of the rest of its service.
"Many web sites don't do it [Gzip compression]," Simhambhatla told El Reg in a recent interview.