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Mozilla director of web platform Chris Blizzard says that when Firefox 4 debuts, its JavaScript performance will be "one generation" ahead of all other browsers. The open source outfit is working to enhance the Firefox JavaScript engine via a new extension dubbed JägerMonkey. With the debut of Firefox 3.5 last year, Mozilla …

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Javascript

Want your browser to run faster? Disable Javascript (or run NoScript). With NoScript enabled by default, most sites load noticeably more quickly in Firefox than in Chrome or Opera (IE is actually pretty quick, too, but I don't generally use it). Without NoScript, it depends which sites I visit; sometimes Chrome wins, sometimes Firefox does.

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WTF?

WTF?

Okay, I must know: why the downvotes? Opera or Chrome fanatics with their panties in a bunch, or Javascript coders getting all cranky?

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Make shopping quicker

by not going shopping.

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downvotes

You had the temerity to make the suggestion that IE was anything other than an abomination that exists solely for the detriment of mankind.

Honestly, you ought to have known better.

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FAIL

Anti javascript beards

Here in 2010 the web has lots of javascript, much of it actually useful. By all means cherish your retarded 90's flat earth of text only uninteractive dullness but don't expect Joe Public to follow you back to the dark ages.

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FAIL

Ahem

Yes, the Web has lots of Javascript, and *some* of it is actually useful, although useful to whom is a question worth pausing to consider. When it seems like I'm not getting functionality out of a site, I enable Javascript. Let's consider The Register for a moment, however. Here, I have scripting enabled for "theregister.co.uk" and disabled for googleadservices.com, google-analytics.com and quantserve.com. As a result, The Register loads much more quickly than it would normally, I see fewer ads, and less of my personal information gets piped to advertisers, while still being able to take advantage of the "useful" Javascript functionality like that which enables posting to this forum.

In any case, Captain Butthurt, my primary point was that Javascript slows down Web browsing, a point you didn't even bother to address. If you would care to come anywhere near relevance, let me know.

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Linux

I call bullshit.

I love Firefox but talk is cheap, and we have heard this "tracing" bullshit before.

Look just admit that you got it wrong the first time, there is no shame in that... just draw a line under it and move on.

Also much as I would love firefox to outperform Chrome they are no where near yet.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Does it still work with noscript?

Or more properly, does noscript still kill it? If not, I'll stick with 3.x, thanks.

At a quick guess, the number of times when a script is used unnecessarily is about 90%. Times when a script delivers something useful? About 1%, I think...

Don't care how fast it works. Do not want.

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Works fine

I'm running Firefox 4 beta 3, and it works fine with NoScript.

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Good point.

According to NoScript, there are 15 scripts on this page alone, belonging to El Reg, QuantServe and Google Ad Services. There's also a QuantCast tracking cookie.

Ironically, the NoScript homepage itself has 22 scripts and a Google Ad Tracker.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm..

What is the other 9%?

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Grenade

I cant trust NoScript after the Adblock Plus debarcle. RequestPolicy is good though.

NoScript is a security app so trust is vital.

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Badgers

The Faster You Make The Engine

The lazier the JavaScript coders will get - no net gain for users but viruses will be delivered faster.

If I actually let JavaScript run on more than about 5% of the sites I use I might care.

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It's getting better all the time...

@SilverWare

See http://arewefastyet.com/

That website was created by the Mozilla Javascript team, essentially it's their way of publicly acknowledging that they aren't as fast yet as Chrome/Safari whilst also setting themselves a target of beating Chrome/Safari in JS performance.

I've been using the Firefox betas and nightlies and I can attest that the JS performance has been gradually getting better.

Also, enabling Direct2D and DirectWrite significantly improves drawing performance.

For example (in one of the IE9 tests): http://i.imgur.com/Xlzaa.jpg

And the same test in IE9: http://i.imgur.com/IBaF6.jpg (even if you reduce the window size it still doesn't achieve 60fps)

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Linux

My point was regarding "Tracing" - Overall it will be faster.

...with code from Chromium.

And I run the dailies as well and I agree it is better... but not "fast" yet.

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Anonymous Coward

"one generation"?

No one cares about 'generations' anymore. That's *such* a 90s thing.

All we want to know is how many milliseconds it is ahead of the competition. We don't care how or why, just make it as fast as IE at least.

And as for other browsers reaching a plateau, IE9 isn't even out yet and it canes IE8's behind already. Opera 10.6 is up to 50% faster than 10.5, which was already miles ahead of the competition until a Chrome 5 beta barely pipped it. So I really fail to recognise any Javascript 'plateau' going on at all.

Between that claim, and the talk of 'next generation' Javascript interpretors, one is left wondering whether this is just desperate marketing standard-issue talk from what is now the slowest commonly used browser.

Sorry.

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Slowest commonly used browser?

Hmm, I used Safari 5 the other day on this MacBook (on which I usually use Firefox 4.0 beta), and Safari seemed hugely slower than Firefox to me. Really sluggish. Couldn't stand it. So I looked to see how it is supposed to compare. (Incidentally, I've found IE8 to be all but unusable too due to similar sloth, on a recentish Windows notebook which runs FF well.)

Anyway, the interesting thing here is that it seems (according to http://arewefastyet.com/) that Safari is a lot _faster_ at running JavaScript code. So why the apparent sloth?

Perhaps making Javascript run faster does not necessarily make browsing faster (apologies for iconoclasm so early in the morning)! I have a slowish (0.6Mb/s) internet connection, which of course means that fetching things takes longer than it might. Well, whatever the cause, Firefox does a much better job of giving me a snappy browsing experience, including for Javascript-heavy (and AJAX-heavy) sites.

Is it starting to be time to use one browser as a web browser (viewing "web pages"), and a different one as a runtime (for "web applications")? Is it time for developers to investigate (shock horror) the time taken to render things to the display, rather than that taken to run software written in Javascript? Would be interested to see coarse-level profiles of complete page-load time broken down by fetch / render / run Javascript etc. for the different browsers.

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Silver badge

Only intel compatible CPUs ?

The 'nitro' bit creates assembler (ie machine code), what CPUs can this create assembler for ? I assume x86, but what about things like ARMs ?

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WTF?

please get rid of this title thing

Given that both Apple and Google (see WebKit) use it in their mobile OSs, which run only on ARM, I'd say it's more than probable that it is capable of generating ARM code.

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Anonymous Coward

ummm...

That's all well and good but I'd rather they concentrated on improving the launch time, to be honest. It's currently unacceptable.

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Go

Try BarTab - instant startup 32 tabs atm

And they are working on startup.

:-)

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Unhappy

Damn You Google!

Firefox and I, we were _happy_. Then along came Chrome and its selection of shiny little convenient plugins for accessing Gmail, Google Docs and Google Bookmarks, taking advantage of my Google whoreness to steal me away.

Now I spend my days with Chrome, but can't dump Firefox altogether because of dev stuff like Live HTTP Headers and WML Browser, for which there is (and in the later case, will ever be) no Extension equivalent.

Oh my heart, torn between user preferences and developer needs!

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WTF?

lol

Not only is talk cheap, so is getting the damn release out already to prove it. lol

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Reliability, Security & Speed

...are my priorities and in that order - and security extends beyond what third parties might want to do with or to me, it extends to the reputability of the vendor. I will trust Google and MS only as a last resort and as infrequently as possible.

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Perspective

I wonder if those few extra milliseconds are that important after all. The Mozilla people seem to be loosing their head in this silly race with the competition for the crown of the fastest *Javascript* browser. Where is a sense of priority? I'm sure their bug database is full of work to do - some of those bugs are years old. Yes, it might not be the type of stuff that goes nicely in press releases and grabs attention - but I'd rather have a stable and functional piece of software any day - instead of the Javascript king of the hill. Firefox is still crap at streaming mjpeg streams, for example.

And while they are at it, if they have the money, why don't they throw it at fixing the many bugs logged for Thunderbird, or making a real solid sync platform for the Lightning calendar and the Address Book. The lack of high performance sync for calendars and contacts (or an actual calendar/contacts server, even better) is the main thing that stops Thunderbird from being an Exchange+Outlook replacement. I would say that these things are far more useful then few milliseconds gain on execution of Javascript. I call no sense of priority of what is important and what is not.

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... depends on what you want to do with your JavaScript

Significantly faster JavaScript will make available applications as safe web apps with functionality that was previously restricted to desktop applications or to plugins that you have to trust with your security. I'm all for it.

I do however have one concern, and that is that the emphasis is entirely on speed. Rich applications doing client-side manipulation of large volumes of data (e.g. pictures) take up memory. The memory footprint of data in the different JavaScript implementations is vastly different. Opera may be the fastest at the moment (I haven't checked in the last month) but an array of integers takes up more than twice the space of the corresponding array in FF4. The most appalling offender in this regard was IE (all version up to 8) with over 50 bytes per number.

Is this a concern either for implementors or web app developers, or am I alone?

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Stop

Soon

..your webbrowser will replace all those win32-crap-apps which corporate employees use to enter their timesheets, enter orders, enter customer complaints, make flight reservations, check inventory, initiate calls to unsupecting people, do some accounting etc

Other people will use JS to run Games, Email, exhibit themselves on FB, some sort of simple office (cue Google Docs) and even simple image manipulation programs.

That is why JS performance will be important. JSP, ASP are simply a pain in the backside when it comes to ergonomics, because of the roundtrip to the server and so on.

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@JavaOpenOfficeMySQL...

".your webbrowser will replace all those win32-crap-apps which corporate employees use to enter their timesheets, enter orders, enter customer complaints, make flight reservations, check inventory, initiate calls to unsupecting people, do some accounting etc"

Well, I seem to have heard this argument over and over again for at least the last 10 years. Although some functionality has moved to web apps - overall, we still use spreadsheet software, email software, text processing software, CAD software etc. that runs locally. In other words, the majority of software still runs locally. Playing some silly Javascript or Java games online, or wasting time on FB doesn't really count as revolutionising computing practices in the work place. So I might be wrong, but I'm not really convinced about all this argument with cloud-computing-do-it-all - or any other excuse for predicting the rise of the web-browser as the universal application platform.

Even in the case of new platforms - such as the various mobile phone OS's - where they would have had the chance to rethink everything from scratch - people still build applications that overwhelmingly run locally. It's 2010 and browsers are still browsers.

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Go

Not Necessarily Cloudy

In one scenario your servers would still reside in your corpo network and employees would download a JS app that would communicate with the server using https/REST (or Web Services for those who love huge specs).

My feeling is that deploying firefox or chrome is vastly easier than deploying 25 corporate apps on all PCs with each having its own DLL and Registry Hell issues...

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Anonymous Coward

Important JS Applications

http://www.javascriptarcade.com/

Quake in JS:

http://www.thechromesource.com/googlers-bring-quake-ii-to-the-browser/

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FAIL

Meh, let them slug it out.

Anyone with any sense or calls themselves is not using Chrome, IE or Firefox anyway.

Opera is where the smart people browse, it's got NoScript, AdBlock+ Greasemonkey and Bookmarksync all built in, no need for silly extensions. It also does Mail, Newsgroups, RSS, IRC and a load of other stuff.

It's also faster than all all the others too, and looks better. It's also got the best track record on security, and it's standards compliance is the best out there.

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Happy

Who had 15 hours?

I did wonder how long it would take for one of the Peoples Front of Opera (or is it the Opera People's Front?) to bounce in and remind us all how stupid we all are for not using it.

I'm surprised it took this long to be honest!

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yawn...

Yet no one still cares about it, and will never care about it.

It's only real use to the wider world is to be a development hotpot where the big players borrow good ideas from.

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Pint

Why all the Opera hate?

I don't get why some people want to have a go every time Opera gets mentioned. Is it based on some deep seated insecurity?

I use Opera quite a bit, these days I find it stable and fast. I like it, but I'm not interested in trying to persuade you to use it if you don't want to.

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hate?

I think you are missing the point Tim. I don't hate Opera, I do hate its smugtard users who use any browser discussion as a platform for calling everyone else inferior as they use 'the bestestest browser ever' which you would 'have to be retarded not to use'. And there always is one.

The scary part is Operas only noticeable market share increase was when it was offered free on the Wii, for one quarter only.

Opera has always been ahead of the curve feature wise, but always been irrelevant user wise. They never won over a sizeable share of techies, which is where Firefox succeeded, and Chrome (in a less significant way). Chrome just has the Google juggernaut of promotion to help it out.

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Stop

Still no

Nope, it doesn't have NoScript or ABP. I'm getting tired of posting this reply to ignorant Opera users, but, even though I'm 90% certain you're trolling (the giveaway was the "looks better"), but I feel like it needs to be driven home that the functionality you think is NoScript is not NoScript.

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Linux

'and even questions how reliable these benchmarks really are.'

Thats right, if you don't like the results, blame the testing methods.

How about the real world experience of...well everyone in the entire world (except the browser deniers of the Opera Peoples Front)

As others have said, stick to fixing the bugs because you are still one of the best browsers around, but your not going to pass chromium in the speed stakes.

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Unhappy

Firefox doesn't like my laptop

Not quick for me...

Firefox 4 (or 3 for that matter) doesn't like my laptop. Basically, any page with javascript runs like a snail. Any page with animations that use dynamic html/javascript completely bogs down. The only thing I can think is that it's something to do with the integrated graphics on the laptop, since running it on my desktop machine is ok. But having said that, other browers, Opera, IE and (even the Windows version of Safari!) run fine on the laptop.

I've tried everything I can think of, including a few completely fresh installs, but the problem remains.

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He's right about the developer tools

None of the other browsers come anywhere close. Firefox is a bit sluggish starting all right, but once it's going the differences between it and the others for everyday browsing are not really noticeable, so I use it for that too.

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Linux

Nice.

http://arewefastyet.com/ <-- look at this, it's interesting

FF is nice, but its speed will never surpass V8. No offense, that's just my opinion. :)

The only reason I like FF is because of the tons of Addons (it's truly impressive :D).

I just use Chrome. The UI is cleaner and it's faster. Not to mention built-in Flash and HTML5 support (coughH264cough).

Don't get me wrong, I love FF. It's a nice browser. :)

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