Benchmarking And Testing Browsers

When people talk about open source they often talk about the products, not the process. That’s not really a bad thing (it is after all about the product), but it overlooks some really interesting things sometimes. For example open source tools used in open development.

A few months ago Jesse Ruderman introduced jsfunfuzz, which is a tool for fuzz testing the js engine in Firefox. It turned up 280 bugs (many already fixed). Because the tool itself is not horded behind a firewall it’s also helped identify several Safari and Opera bugs. It’s a pretty cool way to find some bugs.

The WebKit team has now released SunSpider a javascript benchmarking tool. Something tells me this will lead to some performance improvements in everyone’s engine. How much will be done for Firefox 3.0 is a little questionable considering beta 2 is nearing release, though you never know. There’s been some nice work on removing allocations recently. So just because it’s beta, you can’t always assume fixes will be minor in scope.

Another test that many are familiar with is Acid 2 which essentially is checking CSS support among browsers. Ironically this one too was released when Gecko is somewhat late in the development cycle.

Efforts like this really help web development by allowing browser developers to have a baseline to compare their strengths and weaknesses. Having a little healthy competition as motivation can be pretty helpful too 😉 .

One thought on “Benchmarking And Testing Browsers

  1. When people talk about open source they often talk about the products, not the process. That’s not really a bad thing (it is after all about the product)

    In my experience, it isn’t. When I talk about foss in lay conversation, “product” never arises.

    In fact, the whole reason I use Free software is because I was tired of producerism/consumerism. No longer do I have to put up with marketspeak, bollocking waffle and condescending overreduced economic models that talk of programmes as replacable fodder and people as animals that eat that fodder.

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