Nov 06

Faster JavaScript in Firefox 3, thanks to Adobe

You might have seen the press release from Mozilla in the news today.

SAN FRANCISCO November 7, 2006 Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) and the Mozilla Foundation, a public-benefit organization dedicated to promoting choice and innovation on the Internet, today announced that Adobe has contributed source code for the ActionScript™ Virtual Machine, the powerful standards-based scripting language engine in Adobe® Flash® Player, to the Mozilla Foundation. Mozilla will host a new open source project, called Tamarin, to accelerate the development of this standards-based approach for creating rich and engaging Web applications.

This is great news for developers and users alike. Essentially, Adobe has given away their JIT compiler for ActionScript to Mozilla, and Mozilla has named this “Tamarin” (à la SpiderMonkey). This isn’t Flash—just the component of Flash that compiles ActionScript within Flash.

Because both ActionScript and JavaScript are based on the ECMAScript specification, this means that Mozilla will be able to use this compiler to significantly speed up JavaScript functionality in Firefox 3. Since that includes XMLHttpRequest, the functionality driving so-called Web 2.0 applications, it means that developers can get more and more daring with their use of JavaScript-heavy websites, allowing users to do more and do it more quickly, with fewer page refreshes. It also means Firefox plugins will be faster. Firefox 3 is expected to be released in early- to mid-2007.

This may not sound like a big deal, but consider this: Adobe is contributing around 135,000 lines of code to Mozilla. That’s the single largest contribution to the Mozilla Foundation since Netscape originally made Mozilla open source in the first place.

Frank Hecker (executive director of Mozilla) has a great write-up on his website explaining today’s events in more detail, so if you want to know more, I encourage you to take a look.

Like this post? You might also like Coalmine, my centralized error tracking service for your apps. Coalmine captures errors and all kinds of helpful debugging information, notifies you, and makes it all searchable. Check it out!