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Apple Looks to Accelerator Upgrades for Boost in Safari JavaScript Performance

Apple Looks to Accelerator Upgrades for Boost in Safari JavaScript Performance

Apple is working on significantly boosting the JavaScript performance in its Safari browser, says InfoWorld’s report on the inclusion of accelerator upgrades in recent builds of WebKit, the open source browser engine that serves as the basis for Apple’s Safari browser.

Original graphic by sxmaxchine on Deviant Art
Original graphic by sxmaxchine on Deviant Art

The new upgrades to WebKit’s “Nitro” JavaScript engine are known as “FTLJIT.” The upgrades should make WebKit’s JavaScript engine more competitive with the Google V8 and Mozilla SpiderMonkey engines.

MacRumors reports that FTLJIT is still considered experimental, and as such, it is not turned on by default, instead needing to be turned on via command-line flags.

One attribute that could make FTLJIT stand out from the pack all the more is how well it runs JavaScript code that is not specifically optimized for [Mozilla’s] asm.js. Every JavaScript engine will run asm.js code, but only Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey honors asm.js-specific optimizations, and right now no other browser maker has elected to follow Mozilla’s lead.

The reports says WebKit with FTLJIT enabled is outperforming Chrome in speed tests, however Firefox still tops the charts when using asm.js-optimized benchmark tests. 

JavaScript allows a variety of user interactions with a web page, allowing such features as dynamic reloading of information without reloading the entire web page. As such, the efficiency of a browser’s JavaScript engine can have a huge impact on the user experience.

No date has been announced for the inclusion of the accelerator upgrades in the release version of Safari.

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