Firefox 3.5 Is Faster

10/19/2009 UPDATE
Well a few months later and I just wanted to come back and update this post. I take back the “Faster Start and Close” claim and want to reinforce that Firefox is a memory hog. Firefox 3.5 is just as slow, if not slower, to start up and slow to close down than Firefox 3.0. Firefox 3.5 gobbles up memory so damn fast that I often hit 1 GB memory usage where it pretty much tops out and starts lagging like crazy because I only have 2 GB of RAM (ya know, 2 GB seemed like so much 2 years ago). And the firefox.exe process sometimes takes forever to terminate. Sometimes it even gets stuck and I have to end the process manually.

Now, I know it could just be (or probably is) the plugins I’m running hogging memory and generally slowing down Firefox startup/close. But I’m using the same plugins as I used with Firefox 3.0 and it wasn’t nearly this bad with the memory usage. I’m not sure how you’d go about getting 3rd party plugin developers to optimize their code, but it’s an issue. A browser should not eat up this much memory.

Yes, bookmarks are greatly improved and I like how they break down History by time period. I keep a 90-day history so it used to load my entire history on one screen – very slow, very bad – but not anymore. And yes the History and Bookmarks drop-down menus are much faster. But the “awesome bar” is slow as hell, presumably because it searching through my huge history and bookmarks collection. A lot of times it slows me down because I just want to enter in a URL quickly and I typically punch it very quickly. But it lags as it tries to autocomplete what I’m typing and actually slows me down.

I still feel the sticking point is how slow Firefox starts/closes and how much memory it uses. I periodically have to restart Firefox just to clear up memory. I don’t know how Chrome would fare when loaded with plugins, but if it were half as fast as Firefox is now, I’d probably switch. Unfortunately there really aren’t many plugins for Chrome. The bare-bones version of Chrome lightning fast though.


So I finally upgraded to Firefox 3.5 after the 3.5.2 update was released. I generally like to wait for additional point releases that fix bugs with the initial release. Anyway, 3.5 is definitely a lot faster than 3.0 performance-wise. Yes, the new/updated TraceMonkey and Gecko engines makes Javascript and page-loading faster (which is to be expected, otherwise why update), but I’m talking about general application performance.


IE8 Passes Acid2 Test

Many of us web designers/developers never thought we’d witness Internet Explorer pass the Acid2 rendering test but Microsoft announced yesterday via IEBlog that their internal version of IE8 has done just that. Now if they could push this browser out sooner, it’d be great because the sooner IE6 gets ditched, the better.