Firefox 2 vs IE 7

Last week I posted an entry comparing IE 7 with Firefox 1.5 and the venerable IE 6. Lot’s of folks have since asked for Firefox 2 to be added to the mix. The reason we didn’t initially include Firefox 2 is because it was not at the time officially released and so we felt it unfair for it to be included.

The graph below shows the cumulative time it took for IE 7 and Firefox 2 to execute the Zimbra Web Client (ZWC) peformance tests at various dates leading up to the final release of each browser. As can be seen, both IE and Firefox showed improvement in their final release, and so we think leaving Firefox 2 out of last week’s tests was indeed the fair thing to do.


So now that Firefox 2 has been officially released, how does if fare against IE 7?

We ran each browser over a common set of Zimbra Web Client (ZWC) operations such as logging in, viewing messages, navigating around various folders, changing options, viewing contacts, and performing various calendar operations. As the graph below shows, Firefox 2 beat out IE 7 in just about every operation – sometimes by significant margins.


We also tested Firefox 2 vs Firefox 1.5. As seen below, Firefox 2 has not made substantial performance improvements over Firefox 1.5, and has certainly not shown the same order of gain as IE 7 has over IE6.


I think the net result is that for highly JavaScript intensive AJAX applications such as the ZWC, Firefox is still the winner by quite a wide margin. Of course your mileage will vary depending on the type and footprint of your client.

I would like to end by saying that we are able to present this data thanks to lots of hard work by Raja Rao of the Zimbra QA department who has spent many long hours building our AJAX client testing framework, and executing the performance tests against the various browsers.

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