TraceMonkey what the h!#k is that all about?

13 Dec 2008

Now I know this is all a bit ‘techie’ (or nerdy as I am often told), but TraceMonkey is going to have a major influence on all OpenCRM users and I thought I might just take a few minutes and comment on what it is, why its going to be so interesting and how you can actually get it! It is going to be available through the latest releases of the Firefox web browser.

TraceMonkey was released to the Firefox developer community on Friday (that’s the 12th December 2008 if your watching this rerun on Dave 🙂

First of all – What is TraceMonkey?

Well, TraceMonkey is a way to speed up the JavaScript

code that is often run on rich web applications, and this includes OpenCRM. So, why the name TraceMonkey? Well its a cross between the name already given to the Firefox JavaScript interpretor engine, SpiderMonkey, and a technique that was developed at the University of California, called tracing.

It runs in a way that ‘compiles on the fly’ any JavaScript code that needs to be run on a web page. Currently, JavaScript is interpreted as it is required to be run, which requires the interpretor to read and process each line of code, TraceMonkey is able to prioritise the pieces of the script that are required and to run the code at a speed more akin to a locally compiled application.

So, what does this really mean, well, TraceMonkey testing (and the industry, as you would expect, is vigorously debating the performance boost), seems to give, in some cases, massive speed improvements. It is said that some application JavaScript will run at over 40 times faster.

How do you get it?

The best way is to wait for the production release, V3.1, of the Firefox browser, which is due just before or after Christmas. This will deliver a stable and easy way for users to implement this new feature in a robust way.

As you might have guessed we have been looking at TraceMonkey for a little while now, piloting the Beta nightly builds of the pre release 3.1 versions. On first viewing it seems to be faster, more importantly, this is a real technical development that will allow us to develop with this in mind. So new code developments, both version 2 and also next years V3 release, can optimise this JavaScript engine.

So which browser should I choose? We have always said that our preference is Firefox, based on the Open Source nature of the code and other security benefits, but now there is a real performance reason for changing (if you don’t already use FF) or upgrading if you are a FF user already.

Comment : One other JavaScript boosted browser is Google Chrome. More about Chrome and OpenCRM compatibility soon.