Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

SquirrelFish: WebKit has a new, fast, JavaScript engine

Category: JavaScript, Performance, WebKit

SquirrelFish seems to be the code name for a new JavaScript engine for WebKit.

You can see performance benchmarks that show a significant increase across the board of tests.

On average the tests show a 4 times improvement (compared to Safari 3.1), with spikes of 12.6x improvements on some access tests, and with the lowest grade of 1.63x for String unpacking.

This is great news. We are now seeing all of the major browsers improving their JavaScript stacks significantly, which means we will be able to do a lot more. If you are building heavy Ajax applications, this is what you dream off, and at the same time you hope that you can stop worrying about older browsers ;)

Posted by Dion Almaer at 7:14 am

4.6 rating from 26 votes


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Here is the link to the Webkit Wiki detailing SquirrelFish :


Comment by ElRocco — May 28, 2008

I try not to make a habit of rooting for any particular browser, but it sure does seem like the best just keeps getting better.

Comment by eyelidlessness — May 28, 2008

SquirrelFish? Who comes up with these names? Must have been the only domain name they could think of that hadn’t already been registered ;-)

Comment by Andy Stevens — May 28, 2008

It’s a real fish, but I’m sure most people have googled it already:

Comment by jodytate — May 28, 2008

For the record, that comparison is to Safari 3.0, not 3.1. JavaScript in Safari 3.1 already had a bunch of speedups compared to 3.0, but the new SquirrelFish engine is even faster.

Comment by Maciej — May 28, 2008

By the way, we’ll post a lot more details about the performance and architecture of SquirrelFish soon on the WebKit blog.

Comment by Maciej — May 28, 2008

I wonder whether the souped-up JavaScript engines in the next generation of browsers will force us to resurrect the “best viewed in [browser x]” messages of the late-’90s browser wars. Lots of new browser features go underutilized until they have broad adoption, but I can’t imagine this one will.

Comment by Brian Dillard — May 28, 2008

@Brian Dillard:
Progressive enhancement/graceful degradation. As in, it’s going to be ages before we can expect all the browsers to catch up with the stuff the Webkit (and to a lesser degree, Gecko) team is producing. :(

Comment by eyelidlessness — May 29, 2008

excellent, i was building webkit over the weekend from source for cross-browser testing. i like the way this is all shaping up, good work!

Comment by indiehead — May 30, 2008

I love it
mind you it takes me longer than a weekend..

Comment by Tribulus — September 22, 2008

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