Sat. May 18th, 2024

No one wants to wait around for web pages to load, and web browser developers are always looking for a way to boot performance even further. If you previously used Mozilla Firefox, but decided to switch to something else due to slow page loading times, you might want to give it another shot — the two browsers are neck-and-neck in the latest benchmarks.

There are many automated tests for evaluating web browsers, but one of the most popular ones is Speedometer, which evaluates the responsiveness of web apps in the browser. Mozilla’s automated testing reveals that Firefox’s average Speedometer score has been steadily rising over the past few months. Firefox’s performance on Windows 10 and macOS is now neck-and-neck with Chrome, sometimes beating Google’s browser. The gap is much wider on 64-bit Linux, where Chrome still has a commanding lead over Firefox.

So, what’s causing Firefox to speed up? A recent edition of Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey newsletter (SpiderMonkey is the name of Firefox’s JavaScript engine) explained that Mozilla is specifically working on “improving performance for popular web frameworks such as React.” Firefox developers have optimized calls like JSON.stringify and Object.keys, both of which are frequently used in modern sites and web apps, and there have been a few improvements to WebAssembly performance. The end result is that real-world performance of Firefox is improving, and it’s showing in Speedometer results.

Performance isn’t the only aspect of a web browser that matters, but it’s also not the only aspect Mozilla is improving. Firefox 115 rolled out at the start of July, with a new data migration wizard, hardware video decoding for Intel graphics on Linux, improved search in the Android browser, and other changes. That was also the final version of Firefox for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. Firefox 116 arrived last week with some sidebar improvements, hardware accelerated H.264 video decoding on the Raspberry Pi 4, a volume slider on the Picture-in-Picture player, and other improvements.

It’s great to see Firefox and Chrome continue to get faster, even if the ever-growing complexity of modern pages might cancel that out some of those improvements.

Source: SpiderMonkey, AreWeFastYet

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By John P.

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