Home JaegerMonkey Brings Faster JavaScript to Firefox 4 – Still Trails Chrome

JaegerMonkey Brings Faster JavaScript to Firefox 4 – Still Trails Chrome

Across the board, all major browser developers are currently working very hard to speed up their software’s performance. While a lot of the focus has currently shifted to hardware acceleration, there are still some speed gains to be made by optimizing most browsers’ JavaScript engines. Earlier this year, the Mozilla JavaScript team launched the Jaegermonkey project in order to speed up the JavaScript performance of Firefox, and today, the team launched the first preview version of Firefox 4 with JaegerMonkey.

Faster than TraceMonkey – Not as Fast as Chrome

In our own (unscientific) tests with the help of the SunSpider  and V8 benchmarks, the JaegerMonkey version of Firefox 4 easily outperformed the most recent beta of Firefox 4 (around 370ms vs. 450ms in SunSpider and 2200 points vs. 1200 points in V8). At the same time, though, Google’s Chrome is still significantly faster (260ms for the SunSpider benchmark and 6631 points in V8 for the current developer version). These benchmark results show that the JaegerMonkey team clearly managed to speed up the browser’s performance, but with regards to pure JavaScript performance Firefox is still far behind Chrome.

That said, though, benchmark performance is not always a good indicator for how fast a browser feels in actual usage and there can be little doubt that the JaegerMonkey-enabled build feels faster than the current Firefox 4 betas, and the difference with Chrome is barely noticeable.

You can download a copy of Firefox with the JaegerMonkey engine here.

According to Mozilla developer David Mandelin, the team spent the last eight months “studying the classic research, reverse engineering the competition, measuring, experimenting, designing, prototyping, analyzing performance, scrutinizing assembly code, redesigning, coding, and lots and lots of debugging.” The result of this project is a completely revamped JavaScript engine for Firefox that makes demos like this far more enjoyable. Mandelin also notes that the final version should be “a little bit faster yet by the time Firefox 4 is released.”

Given the combination of hardware acceleration, better JavaScript performance, a revamped interface and many other small changes, Firefox 4 is shaping up to be a very interesting release for Mozilla. The final version of Firefox 4 is currently scheduled for the fall.

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