Firefox 3.6 vs Chrome vs Safari - Javascript Performance

Firefox 3.6 brings with it an updated javascript core, which tries to bridge the performance gap between Firefox and Chrome/Safari . The  performance is virtually unchanged from that of the beta release, which is contrary to what I had expected. I had assumed that the beta release would be an unoptimized release, ideal for debugging (debug symbols left in etc)  but this was clearly not the case.

As usual, Firefox performance on the v8 benchmark is pathetic where Chrome is more than 10 times faster.It is 24% faster than version 3.5.4 in V8 but it is clearly not enough. In the sunspider test, chrome is 2 times as fast as firefox. In this test, 3.6 is 17% faster than 3.5.4. Safari too comfortably beats Firefox in both these benchmarks. In fact, Safari is running neck-to-neck with chrome on the sunspider.

Javascript performance is what matters most in browsers these days as more and more web applications become javascript heavy like Zimbra, GMail, Google Docs and Google Wave. Firefox is sluggish on some of these applications like wave but chrome handles them with aplomb. Firefox performance has a long way to go before it catches up to Chrome and I'm afraid that bridge is growing. Firefox was my favourite browse and I hope it can recapture that loyalty soon.

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