The folks over at Mozilla are getting ready to kick Java right in the butt, and add a huge performance boost to the next version of Firefox when version 3.1 is introduced. According to the article at Ars Technica, the performance boost may be in the 20 to 40 times faster on some sites. This will make a huge difference for us web surfers who use the Fox to surf. Mozilla folks are stating that:

 They are “getting ready to take JavaScript performance into the next tier” with a radically innovative optimization tactic called tracing that has already produced performance improvements ranging between 20 and 40 times faster in some cases. They believe that this is just the beginning of what can be accomplished with tracing, and they expect to be able to achieve even better speed as the work continues.

The theories behind tracing optimization were pioneered by Dr. Michael Franz and Dr. Andreas Gal, research scientists at the University of California, Irvine. The tracing mechanism records the path of execution at runtime and generates compiled code that can be used next time that a particular path is reached. This makes it possible to flatten out loops and nested method calls into a linear stream of instructions that is more conducive to conventional optimization techniques. Tracing optimization is particularly effective in dynamic languages and also has a very light memory footprint relative to alternative approaches. 

Once the new Firefox browser hits the street, those of us who use Gmail should also see a big performance boost in using the online email service. Though I use Gmail as a secondary email, the importance of having an increase in performance can not be underestimated. I received about 200+ alerts per day and a Java boost will be most welcome.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.