[webkit-dev] interested in js speed-up

Maciej Stachowiak mjs at apple.com
Thu Mar 13 17:32:05 PDT 2008

On Mar 12, 2008, at 4:57 PM, ToolmakerSteve wrote:

> Akos Kiss-2 wrote:
>> we got interested in speeding up the
>> JavaScript engine of WebKit.
> But, But, the world is moving on to ECMAScript 4 / Javascript 2.  
> Does it
> make sense to do anything other than to use, and to help improve,  
> the open
> source Mozilla/Tamarin codebase? That will give you the next  
> generation of
> functionality AND dramatic performance gains, if you use its tracing  
> jit
> code branch. Improve that code branch, and everyone in the world wins!

Mozilla and Tamarin are interesting projects that we respect. However,  
we believe that competition is good for the web, and having two strong  
open source web engines is great for the web. For example, the  
competition over JS performance since the release of the SunSpider  
benchmark has result in huge improvements in both WebKit and Gecko.  
Similarly, some have argued that Mozilla should drop Gecko development  
and use WebKit as the layout engine, but the Firefox betas show a lot  
of improvements in memory use and standards support. We do exchange  
ideas with the Mozilla community and sometimes pieces of code, but in  
general we're not looking to replace core parts of WebKit with core  
parts of Mozilla.

Also, while the Tamarin project is an interesting piece of technology,  
let's be careful not to oversell it. Tamarin only provides half of a  
JavaScript engine (the execution engine but not a parser/compiler to  
generate the bytecodes), it cannot yet handle arbitrary JavaScript  
code from the web, and at least the classic version is not  
particularly fast on normal JS, only on typed code (which no one uses  
yet and which is syntactically incompatible with current JavaScript).  
It's true that the tracing JIT branch promises to do reasonably well  
on normal untyped JS as well, but now we're talking about a rewrite,  
not a proven technology.

We'd like to see what we can do with our own technology for now.


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