It’s not just Microsoft that’s building a new JavaScript engine for Internet Explorer 9, as Mozilla is doing the same for Firefox 4.0. With IE9’s codename Chakra, the Redmond company indicated a strong focus on providing the world’s fastest browser, constantly improving its Webkit Sunspider JavaScript results from one Platform Preview release to another.

As of Platform Preview 3 Build 1.9.7.8.74.6000, IE9 reduced the difference that separates it from Opera 10.6 and Chrome 6.0 to less than 100 milliseconds. This considering the fact that throughout the development of Internet Explorer 9 so far, the software giant emphasized that it was yet to introduce Sunspider focused enhancements.

However, while Opera and Chrome were still the fastest browsers in Sunspider in the second half of June when the Redmond company performed the tests, the preview version of Firefox 4.0 lagged IE9. More »

The wait is over! Firefox 3.5 has reached the end of its development process. The gold build of the open-source browser from Mozilla, formerly codenamed Shiretoko, was finalized on June 29, 2009, and is now available for download (links are live at the bottom of this article). Mozilla is planning to ship Firefox 3.5 today, June 30, but at the time of this article the availability of Firefox 3.0’s successor hasn’t yet been announced officially. Still, the final development milestone of Firefox 3.5 has already been wrapped up and the bits went live on Mozilla’s FTP servers. It is only a matter of Firefox 3.5 being released to web, but you needn’t wait, just grab Firefox 3.5 from the links below for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

“The team here at Mozilla has been working hard on creating features, enhancing performance and adding other awesomeness to Firefox 3.5, and we’re very excited about sharing it with the world,” revealed Mozilla’s John Slater on June 29. More »

Firefox has been outperforming IE in every department for years, and version 3 is speedier than ever.

But tweak the right settings and you could make it faster still, more than doubling your speed in some situations, all for about five minutes work and for the cost of precisely nothing at all. Here’s what you need to do.

1. Enable pipelining

Browsers are normally very polite, sending a request to a server then waiting for a response before continuing. Pipelining is a more aggressive technique that lets them send multiple requests before any responses are received, often reducing page download times. To enable it, type about:config in the address bar, double-click network.http.pipelining and network.http.proxy.pipelining so their values are set to true, then double-click network.http.pipelining.maxrequests and set this to 8.

Keep in mind that some servers don’t support pipelining, though, and if you regularly visit a lot of these then the tweak can actually reduce performance. Set network.http.pipelining and network.http.proxy.pipelining to false again if you have any problems. More »

Firefox 3.1 codename Shiretoko Alpha 2 Release Candidate is faster than Google Browser (Chrome), according to Brendan Eich, chief architect, Mozilla. The fact of the matter is that the comparison involves only the two browsers’ respective JavaScript rendering engines, namely TraceMonkey for Firefox and V8 for Chrome. In the first tests Eich ran with the two JavaScript engines on SunSpider, Shiretoko Alpha 2 RC managed to come on top of Google Chrome Beta.

“We win by 1.28x and 1.19x, respectively. Maybe we should rename TraceMonkey “V10.” OK, it’s only SunSpider, one popular yet arguably non-representative benchmark suite. We are not about to be braggy. “Don’t be braggy” is our motto here at Mozilla,” Eich stated.

Google Chrome comes with the V8 virtual machine, which is essentially an open source JavaScript engine built at the Google office in Aarhus, Denmark. According to Google, the V8 JavaScript engine has been designed with nothing but performance in mind, especially when it comes down to the way it handles web-based applications. More »

Internet Explorer 8 is not the fastest browser in the universe. This, according to IE Program Manager, Christian Stockwell, working on the performance of the browser. However, this is not to say that the Redmond company has not poured a consistent amount of efforts into boosting the performance of IE7’s successor. In fact, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, planned for release by the end of this month, will offer palpable proof of the new horsepower under the browser’s hood.

“When we took a hard look at our goals and considered what we could do to build the best browser, we were presented with a quandary. On the one hand, we could focus very narrowly on scripting performance, trusting that our investment would noticeably improve our users’ browsing experience. Alternatively, we could invest more broadly in realistic scenarios, measuring heavily-used subsystems and investing our optimization effort accordingly. We opted for the latter approach,” Stockwell noted.

Even as early as March 2008, IE GM Dean Hachamovitch indicated that JavaScript performance was up 2.5 times, the Gmail inbox was loading 34% faster, the task of opening a new conversation took 45% less time, while that of opening a thread 25% less. With IE8 Beta 2, Microsoft has tweaked the execution time for the browser, but it has also managed to speed up navigation and user interaction. More »