And The Winner of the Browser Wars is….

With Zimbra 5.0 we’ve introduced some newer ways to make the user experience faster with the Zimbra Web Client. We’ve talked about Jetty, YUI compression, and Lazy Loading, but now there’s just one burning question: Which browser is fastest?

There’s some amazing JavaScript handling enhancements about to be pushed into the major browsers. In-case you missed previous rounds of the browser wars we’ll tell you the answer, but you should still checkout Firefox 2 vs FF3RC1, Internet Explorer 7 vs IE8b, and Safari 3.1.1 vs SF nightlies to get more insight into how each fared on the testbed.

The gloves are off, this is a bare knuckle battle-royal fight:

BW winners  
The winner’s Safari!
So were we.

We had high hopes that FF3GA would at least match Safari 3.1.1 in order to contend with Apple’s Safari 4 just around the corner. Infact that graph is simply those tested in our browser war series; the WebKit nightlies (engine for SF4) deliver a knockout blow. And it’s not just our favorite testing software that shows this; we use OpenQA Selenium which allows us to nicely calculate time rendering a page while navigating the Zimbra AJAX web-client. Other commonly used benchmarks like SunSpider & VeriTest show very similar results and Safari 4 nightlies even fare well on the Acid3 DOM and JavaScript test, beating out Firefox 3 every time. But we’ll let the judges analyze and discuss later. BW winners total time
Safari Enhanced The SquirrelFish JavaScript interpreter in Safari 4 is a bytecode engine which eliminates almost all of the overhead of a tree-walking JavaScript interpreter. According to the WebKit project, the SquirrelFish engine is 1.6 times faster than the engine in Safari 3.1. SquirrelFish does its magic by turning JavaScript script into so-called bytecodes, an optimized code much more suitable for run-time execution than natural language-based commands, which are longer and more complicated to interpret – and therefore are slower. It also leaves room to experiment with things like constant folding, type inference, specialization based on expression context, peephole optimization, and escape analysis.

In addition, Safari 4 adds the ability to save webpages as standalone web applications (Similar to the Mac favorite Fluid, or Mozilla’s Prism which meshes nicely as an add-on to Firefox.), CCS enhancements to gradients, masks, and reflections, as well as some additional native font rendering and HTML5 support.

That said, there’s more to browser choices than JavaScript rendering in ZCS – it’s a great day for Firefox. The new release is packed with over 15,000 updates and new features; from the underlying Gecko and JavaScript engines to Profile-Guided Optimizations (dual pass compiling) that bring dramatic improvements to performance, memory usage and speed. And you can’t forget the best add-on network.
There was previously a clamoring in the forums about participating in Firefox 3 download day Guinness World Record attempt. Go do your part and download this awesome browser!
Download Day

*Test machines were running AMD Opteron 1.8GHz Dual-cores with 2GB RAM against ZCS 5.0.6 GA RHEL4. As always performance will vary based on system configuration, network connection, and other factors like account data and preferences.

One Response to And The Winner of the Browser Wars is….

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