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WebKit: new speedier JavaScript engine

updated 07:15 pm EDT, Tue June 3, 2008

WebKit SquirrelFish

The WebKit development team on Tuesday unveiled a new JavaScript rendering engine called SquirrelFish for the open source browser, making the browser perform 1.6 times faster on the SunSpider benchmark. SquirrelFish is billed as a register-based, direct threaded, high-level bytecode engine with a sliding register window calling convention. The engine was designed around current theories and research progress performed by professors, and developers of the Lua programming language.

SquirrelFish compiles bytecodes from a syntax tree, using a one-pass compiler with built-in copy propagation. The development team claims the speed boost comes mainly from SquirrelFish's ability to ignore redundant nodes, but is also due to single direct memory reads, single indirect branching, and eliminating the syntax tree, allowing the interpreter to skip execution states between syntax tree nodes.

The WebKit team admits that the system is in early stages of development, but they expect to have compile-time optimizations and optimizations to the virtual machine engine, before it is ready for mass scale deployment.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Rezzz

    Joined: Dec 1969



    thank you, webkit team, for a whimsical and silly logo of the squirrelfish. absolutely love it.

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