Firefox 4 will be a “generation” faster than rivals

The next version of Firefox will be “faster than anyone else,” according to Mozilla’s head of web development.

Firefox 4 will be a

Firefox 4 is due out later this year, but faces stiff competition from Google Chrome 6 and Internet Explorer 9.

Chris Blizzard admitted Firefox isn’t currently topping the various speed benchmarks, but said the browser will when all of its new features are included.

We’ll be one generation ahead of everyone else

“What we’ve seen is that in places where our tracing engine gets used we are actually faster than anyone else, it’s just in those cases where it doesn’t fit that others do a lot better,” he told an Austrian news site. “So we’re trying to improve our baseline performance and combine that with the Tracing-JIT [compiler], with this we’ll be one generation ahead of everyone else.”

Despite the constant speed increases across all browsers, Blizzard said there was still room for improvement. “The current generation of JavaScript engines has plateaued, I mean the percentage difference we are seeing between all the current browsers at the moment is not very big anyway,” he said.

New benchmarks needed?

He argued that current benchmarks weren’t actually very useful, as they don’t focus enough on “real JavaScript performance”.

“Just to give you an example of this negative impact of benchmarks: We have to do stuff like optimising Daylight Saving Time lookups because that is influencing some benchmarks negatively, so we’re not doing actual JavaScript improvements here,” he claimed. “SunSpider has these problems, V8 also consists of some crazy code, so it’s hard to find some good benchmarks.”

Blizzard said developers seemed to be flocking to Chrome, but added that user numbers weren’t always clear, as early adopters and advanced users spent more time on the web, skewing usage data.

He added that users don’t just make their browser choice based on speed, saying features and user interface were usually more important.

“We know we’re not going to be able to serve everyone’s needs and that’s not even our goal as an organisation,” he added. “We want to drive the web as a platform and we’ve been pretty successful at that.”

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