Friday, October 20, 2006

IE7 Released To The Masses

I got a "critical" Windows Update today to install: IE7. Yep, Microsoft has not only released it to the masses, but as expected, is pushing it as a critical update for all XP users. I had been using it on my work computer for awhile now, though I had kept IE6 on my home computer. I have been mostly pleased with IE7, so I will go ahead and upgrade it on my home computer as well.

Now that IE7 is out, I figured it was time to test its performance. I read this bit about how it performed a lot better than IE6 on sites heavy with JavaScript and DHTML. So I treid it against my favorite JS benchmark, BenchJS. I decided to pit it against the other "modern" browsers, Firefox 2.0 RC3 and Opera 9.0.

First I ran IE7. I stripped it down by disabling all add-ons and by stripping down all the XP chrome and effects. The last time I had ran IE6, it had taken around 19-20 seconds for BenchJS. IE7 did it in 9.3 seconds. This seemed similar to what the Zimbra blogger had said, that it was about twice as fast IE6.

Next I ran Firefox 2.0 RC3. Why FF 2.0, and not 1.5? Mostly because 2.0 is what I have installed on my work computer. Second, it seemed more fair to compare Mozilla's latest against Microsoft's latest. My old numbers on FF 1.5, had it clocking BenchJS at around 12-13 seconds. FF 2.0 did it in 6.4 seconds. It looks like Mozilla has also doubled up their speed.

Finally, I brought in the ringer: Opera 9. Opera always kills the compettition on BenchJS. This time it turned out BenchJS in 5.5 seconds. That was actually a little bit slower than last time I had ran Opera, but only by a couple of tenths of a second.

So Opera still holds the speed crown, but Firefox is suddenly only about 1 second behind. IE7 is a nice improvement over IE6, but FF 2.0 is also a nice improvement over FF 1.5! I'm sure the Mozilla devs were feeling a lot of pressure to stay ahead of IE and keep their momentum going. Looks like they've done just that. Microsoft will have to hope that IE's new UI is viewed as an improvement over Firefox. Otherwise, it is still behind the Fox.

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