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Firefox to get JavaScript boost

Firefox to get JavaScript boost

The work being done on Firefox's native JavaScript JIT compiler will significantly improve performance when TraceMonkey can't be used.

Firefox's occasionally lacklustre JavaScript performance is set to be a thing of the past thanks to a new engine under development: JägerMonkey.

JägerMonkey - also known as JaegerMonkey - is a marriage between a modern, fast Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler alongside the TraceMonkey engine which was developed for Firefox 3.5. While current versions of Firefox rely on the TraceMonkey engine - which attempts to find the most-used code fragments in a site and compiles them into native code for a massive boost in speed - for their performance, the underlying engine that is used in the event that TraceMonkey is unable to do its magic doesn't really stand up to comparison with the performance from rivals such as Chrome and Opera.

Mozilla's David Anderson didn't think that relying on TraceMonkey was enough. Quoted over on Softpedia as asking "Why couldn’t we trace and keep going SUPER AWESOME FAST, and when tracing fails, fall back to STILL REALLY FAST," Anderson has been working on improving the underlying JIT JavaScript engine in Firefox for when TraceMonkey is unable to compile the native code segments.

While the project is in the first stages of development at the moment - expect to see something in Firefox 4.0 at the absolute earliest - the new JIT compiler Anderson has developed is currently performing around 30 percent faster on 32-bit hardware and a whopping 45 percent faster on 64-bit hardware than its predecessor. Further development by the Mozilla team on the native-code assembler used by TraceMonkey - Apple's Nitro compiler - is also yielding gains of around 18 percent.

Once the two are joined together, Anderson predicts "a much more consistent – and fast – JavaScript performance experience."

With JavaScript performance perhaps being the true test of a modern browser, with barely a single page on the 'net not using some JavaScript code to perform clever tasks, it's about time that Mozilla did something about its performance in cases where TraceMonkey can't be used.

Are you excited to see that the gap between Firefox and its competitors is narrowing, or do you think there are more important things that the Mozilla Foundation needs to concentrate on before worrying about JavaScript performance? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

13 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
MitchBomcanhao 2nd March 2010, 10:18 Quote
in real world internet usage, where can I see a difference with using "faster" javascript ?
shanky887614 2nd March 2010, 10:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MitchBomcanhao
in real world internet usage, where can I see a difference with using "faster" javascript ?

none at all and whats the point in bothering eith javascript it will only be arround for a few more years
shanky887614 2nd March 2010, 10:42 Quote
damn i hate this no edit crap that they call a feature
javaman 2nd March 2010, 10:54 Quote
roll on HTML 5
l3v1ck 2nd March 2010, 10:59 Quote
Sounds good! It's just a shame it'll take so long to catch up to the competition.
cjmUK 2nd March 2010, 11:00 Quote
Having just gone from a Pentium D to a Xeon 5520 it is less of an issue now, but until recently, at work event the most modest javascript taxed my machine, and certain sites would push CPU utilisation > 75%... Anything that improve javascript processing is a welcome improvement to many people.
l3v1ck 2nd March 2010, 11:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanky887614
damn i hate this no edit crap that they call a feature
You can't edit from the news story, but you can if you go to the Forums -> Article Discussion ->Article name.
http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=184116
If you log in, you can edit it there.
mi1ez 2nd March 2010, 11:03 Quote
Which alcoholic named that?
Mr T 2nd March 2010, 12:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanky887614
Quote:
Originally Posted by MitchBomcanhao
in real world internet usage, where can I see a difference with using "faster" javascript ?

none at all and whats the point in bothering eith javascript it will only be arround for a few more years

Javascript is on the come back. The complete opposite of what your suggesting. Javascript + HTML5 canvas tag are going to rule the roost over the next few years.

You'll notice a slight difference in some of the google apps e.g. gmail.
UncertainGod 2nd March 2010, 13:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanky887614
none at all and whats the point in bothering eith javascript it will only be arround for a few more years
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
roll on HTML 5

2 perfect examples of people not knowing what the hell they are talking about, anyone that uses pretty much any web app these days (and there is going to be a hell of alot more of them in the years to come) will benefit from faster javascript handling, javascript is integral to the growth of this webapp-enabled future html5 is trying to push forward.
azrael- 2nd March 2010, 15:32 Quote
JavaScript is *very* imporant and will possibly be for the foreseeable future. It's the center piece of AJAX; a concept on which almost all "Web 2.0" applications are built.

What I find particularly amusing, however, is that the FireFox devs keep coming with these improved speed claims for almost every new version of the browser. One would think they, of all people, would be able to do what the Chrome devs have done pretty much from the start. Then again, what do I know... :)
iwod 3rd March 2010, 01:49 Quote
While the article makes it sound like Super fast, the reality is when two technologies combined together would only give 50% increase in JS performance, which will only be on par with Saferi, Chrome 5 and Opera 10.5

So it is not a breakthrough, it is merely telling us that Firefox 4.0 might ( which i doubt they will have it ready by then judging by their history ) have the same JS speed that other browsers are having NOW.
rickysio 3rd March 2010, 12:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by iwod
While the article makes it sound like Super fast, the reality is when two technologies combined together would only give 50% increase in JS performance, which will only be on par with Saferi, Chrome 5 and Opera 10.5

So it is not a breakthrough, it is merely telling us that Firefox 4.0 might ( which i doubt they will have it ready by then judging by their history ) have the same JS speed that other browsers are having NOW.

Not that I care about speed - do I really need to care about the few more miliseconds FF 3.7a3pre takes to view a page than versus the few more miliseconds FF takes off with all it's plugins?
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