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Mozilla Asks, ‘Are We Fast Yet?’

Posted September 9th, 2010 by admin No Comments »

The above charts show the performance of JavaScript engines across different architectures. The tests shown are the common SunSpider and V8 JavaScript benchmarks, with output measured in milliseconds. The tests are run once a day, and the graphs show the last five weeks or so of results.

Go to the real site and click on all the clicky bits.

The green line is Google V8, the red line is Apple Nitro, and the orange and black lines are Mozilla’s two engines, JaegerMonkey and TraceMonkey, respectively. The purple lines reflect Mozilla’s new approach of running the engines concurrently. As you can see, it speeds things up.

But the answer to the question being asked by the URL is “No” — Google is currently either on par with Apple Safari or slightly better, depending on the test and the architecture. Mozilla is improving, but still has a lot of catching up to do.

This testing tool is maintained by Mozilla’s JavaScript team. I found out about it earlier today when John Resig, the guy behind jQuery and a Mozilla employee, tweeted the link. It’s an effective motivational tool, especially since it shows how slow Mozilla’s engines were only a month ago, and how quickly the team is gaining on the leaders.

A couple of caveats: The tests aren’t run in the browser, they are run from the command line. Also, a Mac Mini in doing the testing, so Internet Explorer isn’t represented. From what we’ve seen of IE9’s pre-release code, the browser is incredibly fast. We’re curious to see how its JavaScript engine stacks up.

Also, no Opera. Opera’s Carakan engine is also blazing fast, but it’s not represented here.

Check out the page’s FAQ for more details. Also, the code for the test is open source, so if you have philosophical issues with these methods, build your own testing environment.

Update: Here’s a much more detailed post about Mozilla’s performance on JavaScript benchmarks by Rob Sayre.

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Page Speed Add-on Headed to Chrome

Posted September 9th, 2010 by admin No Comments »

One of the most useful browser extensions for web development is coming to Chrome.

Google is working on a Chrome version of its Page Speed add-on. Page Speed is an essential tool for testing sites in Firefox. It breaks down all the stuff on your page and shows you how long everything is taking to download, execute and render. It’s also fully open source and it has its own SDK.

Matthew D. Steele, one of the key engineers at Google responsible for Page Speed, has confirmed that a Chrome version is “already in the works,” and will be ready within a couple of months.

Page Speed currently runs inside of Firebug on Firefox, and there is already Firebug Lite for Chrome. There’s no word yet on whether Page Speed will remain dependent on Firebug (Lite) once it moves into Chrome, or if it will be a stand-alone add-on, but we’ll find out more details soon. In the meantime, if you have an answer to that mystery, let us know in the comments.

If you are curious about using Page Speed to speed up your website, check out Scott’s recent post on using Page Speed and YSlow together.

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Firefox 4 Beta 5 Adds Audio Tools, Hardware Acceleration

Posted September 9th, 2010 by admin No Comments »

Mozilla has released a fifth beta for Firefox 4, adding hardware acceleration in Windows, a new audio API and support for a new security protocol.

You can download Firefox 4 beta 5 from the Mozilla website, or, if you’re currently using beta 4, head to the Check for Updates menu item to update to beta 5.

The most obvious change for Windows users will be the hardware acceleration, which should make Firefox considerably snappier. While beta 4 included support for hardware acceleration on Windows, it was not enabled by default. Beta 5 gives users hardware acceleration out of the box (provided you’re using a version of Windows that supports DirectX 10).

Like we’ve seen in the most recent graphics-intensive games on Windows PCs, the idea behind hardware acceleration is to shift some of the work from your computer’s main processor to the graphics card. In a browser, this speeds up page rendering, particularly text, graphics and scripted animations. The coming Internet Explorer 9 and future versions of Google’s Chrome browser will both take advantage of hardware acceleration.

The other major new feature in this release is a new Audio Data API that gives web developers a way to interact with raw audio data in HTML5’s <video> and <audio> elements using JavaScript. With the new API, developers can read and write audio data within the browser, opening the doors for online tools like spectrum analyzers, audio remixing tools and 3D audio visualizations.

For more on what the audio API offers, check out our earlier write up and be sure to read through Mozilla developer Dave Humphrey’s blog post. To see the new tools in action, check out the video Humphrey created to showcase some of what’s possible with the new audio API.

The Firefox 4 beta also now supports the Strict Transport Security (HSTS), a new security protocol that allows websites to require that Firefox always use secured connections. Designed to help stop the so-called “man in the middle” attack — where something lurking between your browser and the secure website steals your data — Firefox 4 Beta now remembers which sites use the HSTS protocol and will only connect to those sites using SSL in the future.

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Censorship Stays as iPhone App Development Rules "Relax" [Apple]

Posted September 9th, 2010 by admin No Comments »

Click here to read Censorship Stays as iPhone App Development Rules &quot;Relax&quot;

In a surprising announcement—after receiving a mountain of criticism, —Apple has announced that they “are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create apps” and “publishing app review guidelines.” That’s good. The bad: Arbitrary censorship stays. More »

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How to Shoot Better iPhone HDR Photos [Iphone 4]

Posted September 9th, 2010 by admin No Comments »

Click here to read How to Shoot Better iPhone HDR Photos

The iPhone 4‘s best new feature in iOS 4.1—besides not hanging up on people with your face—is its ability to capture HDR photos. But you’ve gotta use it correctly. More »

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How I Made Clippy Lovable [Book Excerpt]

Posted September 9th, 2010 by admin No Comments »

Click here to read How I Made Clippy Lovable

Clifford Nass is a Stanford professor specializing in computer interaction. In this excerpt from his new book, The Man Who Lied To His Laptop, he talks about how he made Clippy lovable. Cliff will be in the comments, answering Q’s. More »

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Extending the Associated Press as Hosted News partner

Posted September 9th, 2010 by admin No Comments »

Posted by Josh Cohen, Senior Business Product Manager

We’ve extended our existing licensing agreement with the Associated Press that permits us to host its content on Google properties such as Google News. We look forward to future collaborations, including on ways Google and AP can work together to create a better user experience and new revenue opportunities. You can read more about our hosted news agreements in this post and this one.

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