Web Browser war and Javascript Performance !!

Posted by Unknown on Apr 15, 2009

Any discussion on web browsers inevitably centers around how fast web pages load. We keep saying that a particular website loads faster in a particular browser. Let's try to get why this happens.

While there are a number of factors that determine the page loading time of a web page, one major factor is Javascript performance.

Blogspot bloggers would have a good idea where this comes from. How often have we discarded a javascript coded widget just because it made it almost impossible for the page to load.
Many a times we place all the Javascript code at the bottom of the page source code in order to enable the rest of the page to load faster.

The importance of Javascript performance for a web browser can be understood simply by the fact that the web browsers have interesting names for their Javascript engines.

Have a look :

Google chrome : V8 , I have been using it a lot. The fact that the addressbar itself serves as Google Search is it's USP for me.
Mozilla Firefox : Tracemonkey My favourite browser, simply because of the amazing add-ons owing to open source.
Opera : Futhark (Carakan is coming ) While it's my lifeline on my symbian mobile, the latest desktop version seems to have a little too much.
Safari : Nitro ( Based on Apple's open source Webkit's Squirrelfish extreme ) hve to try this one. I keep hearing that it's hot !!

As far as Javascript performance goes Internet Explorer 8 is a non starter when compared to Firefox or Chrome.

Web apps are the future with Google looking to make everything we have on our desktops available in the browser itself and the browser war has extended to the Javascript arena as the alternatives like Adobe's Flash and Flex are not that practical or easy to implement.

I can see only benefits as faster the Javascript loads better the website performs and more web apps can be added.

Before I end this post just have a look at few of the Javascript coded widgets on this page :

1. Footer : Yahoo Badge, Sitemeter, Label Cloud
2. Blogcatalog and Mybloglog widgets
3. Technorati
4. Disqus's recent comments

There are many others and they need to load faster !!