Mozilla engineer Lin Clark revealed yesterday that the upcoming Firefox 58 web browser would feature two new WebAssemblyfeatures that improve performance significantly.
Streaming compilation enables the browser to compile code while it is downloaded and the new 2-tiered baseline compiler compiles code up to 15 times faster than the optimizing compiler.
Clark notes that Firefox can compile code faster than it comes from the (average) network with these changes.
A basic benchmark that Mozilla created shows impressive gains.
I ran it using different browsers and here are the results:
Edge's performance looks impressive on first glance but if you read this article on the MS Edge Development blog you will notice that Edge defers parsing WebAssembly functions until they are called.
Under the hood, Chakra defers parsing WebAssembly functions until called, unlike other engines that parse and JIT functions at startup time.
Lin notes that the optimizations allow Firefox on the desktop to compile 30 to 60 Megabytes of WebAssembly code per second. On "a pretty average" mobile, Firefox manages to compile 8 Megabytes per second.
Mozilla plans to launch the WebAssembly improvements in Firefox 58. Firefox 58's release date is January 23, 2018.
Firefox users who run Beta or Nightly versions of the web browser can test the functionality already. You can run the basic benchmark that I linked above to see the difference, or run real-world applications or games that use WebAssembly instead.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.