Cloud

Mozilla: Firefox 58 will be faster than Quantum, thanks to this one feature

Updates to WebAssembly will lead to faster code compiling, boosting page load speeds.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Mozilla announced that Firefox 58 will be faster than Firefox Quantum, thanks to streaming compilation and a new a two-tiered compiler.
  • The increased speed and performance could help Firefox gain an edge over rival browsers Chrome and Safari.

Mozilla's upcoming Firefox 58 browser will be even faster than Firefox Quantum (57), according to a Wednesday blog post from Mozilla's Lin Clark. Two big updates to WebAssembly—streaming compilation and a two-tiered compiler—are responsible for the changes.

When Mozilla launched Firefox Quantum in November 2017, the firm claimed it was their fastest browser ever. With a speed to rival Google Chrome, while also requiring less memory, Quantum helped bring Firefox front of mind for developers and other professionals.

Now, Mozilla has Firefox 58, boasting even more speed due to quicker page loads. This could further bolster Firefox as serious competitor to Chrome, especially in the enterprise, and put Mozilla out ahead in the browser wars.

SEE: Secure Browser Usage Policy (Tech Pro Research)

With streaming compilation, the browser compiles the code while it is still being downloaded, the post said. This helps to cut out the bottlenecks that could be robbing users of faster page loads. "If you start compiling the code earlier, you'll finish compiling it earlier," Clark wrote in the post. "That's what streaming compilation does... makes it possible to start compiling the .wasm file as soon as possible."

The second piece of the puzzle is the two-tiered compiler. The first tier compiles the code quickly, but won't focus as much on optimization. The second tier compiles code at a slower pace, but works to optimize it more heavily, Clark wrote in the post.

"Once it's done, it hot-swaps the optimized code in for the previous baseline version," the post said. "This makes the code execute faster."

These two features, which both also use fine-grain parallelization, will allow Firefox 58 to compile the code at a faster rate than it is being received from the network, the post said.

For more information about Firefox 58, read Clark's full post here. Firefox 58 is due out on January 23, according to Mozilla's release calendar.

Also see

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Image: Mozilla

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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