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IE 8 Finishes Last on Google JavaScript Test

Google last week provided an additional means for users to test JavaScript performance in Web browsers.

Users can now access a Web page that taps into the 5,000-plus tests in Google's open source Sputnik conformance test suite version 1. Running tests via this page will check the performance of JavaScript as defined in the third edition of the ECMA-262 spec, according to a Google blog.

The big winner of the Sputnik tests so far is the Opera browser, with 78 failures, according to Google's bull's-eye comparison chart. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 browser performed the worst (463 failures) relative to the four other browsers tested by Google.

Clumped next to Opera in the center position of the chart were Apple's Safari (159 failures), Google's Chrome (218 failures) and Mozilla's Firefox (259 failures).

The use of WebKit technology in Safari and Chrome may explain their relatively close scores in Google's Sputnik conformance test. WebKit-based browsers typically have shown high marks in Acid3 testing as well. Acid3 is a set of 100 tests designed to assess JavaScript performance and other Web technologies, such as support for CSS 3 and scalable vector graphics.

According to Google's blog, the Sputnik test runner "can be seen as a continuation of and a complement to existing browser conformance testing tools, such as the Acid3 test."

Internet Explorer 8 shows a low score (20/100) on Acid3, but Microsoft has tended to disparage that test and the company still tends to ignore it. A Microsoft official even described a low Acid3 score (32/100) for its forthcoming Internet Explorer 9 browser, which is still under wraps.

Google is currently working to make the Sputnik test suite compatible with ECMAScript 5, according to the blog. Microsoft has also initiated an effort to test ECMAScript 5 through a Microsoft CodePlex project. ("ECMAScript" is the nomenclature used in the ECMA standard, but it's more commonly known as "JavaScript.")

ECMAScript 5 was published on December 3, 2009 as part of the ECMA-262 spec. The technology in ECMAScript 5 is based on ECMAScript 3 and came about after Microsoft and Yahoo dissented against ECMAScript 4, according to Wikipedia's account.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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Reader Comments:

Fri, Mar 19, 2010 Kurt Mackie Irvine, CA

@ DR: Sorry for my mistake. You are correct. Safari and Chrome are WebKit based. Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine.

Tue, Mar 16, 2010 DR

@johnie: the suite is open, so you can validate the methodology yourself if you're skeptical about Google's methods here. Note also that Chrome is not even 2nd (we're not talking about Microsoft-sponsored studies, here...)

Tue, Mar 16, 2010 DR

Also: The test are about conformance, not performance. Although IE8 would still end up last in that case. But it's not like this is news; the reason Microsoft dissed Acid3 is precisely because they knew they couldn't pass it (at the time). So no real news here...

Tue, Mar 16, 2010 DR

Huh... Firefox is not WebKit based...

Mon, Mar 15, 2010 johnnie

... of course they did. *sarcasm intended*

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