Mozilla boosts Firefox performance with new beta

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Mozilla has significantly boosted the performance of its popular browser with a new beta version (7) of Firefox 4.

The latest iteration features a JägerMonkey (JIT) JavaScript compiler, support for hardware-accelerated graphics (OS X & Windows) and enables 3D capabilities - without the need for plug-ins - via WebGL.

"The Firefox SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine now incorporates the new JägerMonkey JIT compiler, which, along with enhancements to the existing TraceMonkey JIT and SpiderMonkey's interpreter, add up to speeds that really show off today's rich Web apps," explained Mozilla exec Jay Sullivan.

"You'll notice this in faster start-up time, improved page-load speed and the performance of Web apps and games."

According to Sullivan, support for hardware-accelerated graphics also helps to optimize and increase browser performance.

"It enables websites to load and respond faster to rich and interactive content like Web games, apps or photos.

"On Windows (including Windows XP), hardware acceleration is done using DirectX technology; on Mac OS X, it's done using OpenGL."

Additional improvements include:

  • Support for Exquisite Fonts with OpenType - Allows developers to create sophisticated effects by controlling ligatures, kerning, alternative characters, along with small and large caps variants.
  • Improved HTML5 Forms - Detailed HTML5 forms are easier to create with auto-complete, HTML5 form validation and the new Form API.
  • 3D graphics - Can be mashed-up with other Web technologies to provide an experience that seamlessly integrates with the rest of a (2D) website.

The new Firefox 4 beta can be downloaded here.