Recently heard about the relatively new jsPerf service that Mathias Bynens has created and after spending some time playing around with this on my own machine I can honestly say that I love this service. Rather than a few gushing tweets on the subject, I felt like this deserves a blog entry covering it’s coolness.
The thing that I found the most striking about the site (and most likely the reason that I am writing this now) is that it broke many of my previous assumptions about performance of specific statements and relative performance of different platforms. Is innerHTML faster than DOM manipulation when generating a DOM tree? Not for a specific (relatively simple) construct under Chrome (OS X v5). Is array.join(”) the fastest way to concat a string. On my test platforms (OS X Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome release versions), nope.
Being a public playground, the community benefits from the collective knowledge. Scanning through the test list I saw many of the problems that I have run into before as well as some I had never considered such as the multiple methods of performing a Math.floor operation. While some of these honestly scare me and remind me of Kernel code, it’s good to know they exist.
jsPerf has full support for mobile browsers as well, meaning that you can test performance test the various algorithm options on device and have a realistic view of how it will behave on the device. In running some of the tests on a webOS device there were some quite distinct differences between comparable environments on a desktop class machine.
As with any performance testing I would recommend running these tests multiple times on your target device(s) before selecting a particular path to use as there are many things that could cause a single test to provide inaccurate results for a given execution, particularly on the more resource constrained environments.
Great job Mathias and can’t wait to see what features are added to this as well as the content that the community creates!