This news caught my attention, as I stopped using Firefox a couple of years ago because of its bloated feature set and its tendency to waste resources. But given the new release, I guess it’s time to revisit this Web browser and see what has happened in the performance department (hint: quite a LOT!).
Firefox 7? Mozilla’s new release cycle!
Mozilla’s main problem over the past few years wasn’t just its slow and bloated browser but major shipping delays. With Mozilla’s new approach to software releases, all that’s about to change. A few months ago, the company launched its new Aurora channel to give users the chance to try out newer releases of Firefox.
Aurora sits right between the stable beta release (Firefox 6.0) and the highly experimental nightly builds (currently running at version 8.0).
Reducing memory utilization
Overall, Mozilla’s MemShrink project is dedicated to fixing all bugs related to memory leaks. Now, let’s put all of these improvements to the test…
Firefox 7 performance comparison
I’m a serious multi-tab browser user. I usually start my day by simultaneously loading 27 business-related websites while drinking my first cup of coffee. As I start reading the first page, all of the others load in the background. No matter which browser I use, this scenario makes for a guaranteed performance hit. I need a lean Web browser that can handle heavy usage. Unfortunately, Firefox 5 is a serious offender: It claims a whopping 659 MB of RAM for itself (856 MB peak!) after all 27 tabs have finished loading.
Let’s check and see how Firefox 7.0a2 handles memory management. I repeated the same exact test scenario. I loaded 27 websites simultaneously and waited exactly 10 minutes before checking overall resource usage.
Current memory usage dropped from 670 MB to 496 MB. Firefox.exe peaked at only 658 MB. This isn’t bad at all. In fact, this is quite an achievement.
To put these results into perspective, Internet Explorer 9 needed a total of 814 MB with a peak at almost 1.3 GB to display the 27 websites which is, in all honestly, insane. Google Chrome’s latest beta release consumed 693 MB and peaked at 1.1 GB). I didn’t think that Firefox 7 would be (by far) the most resource-friendly browser.
Performance analysis for Web developers
Optimizing the browser client is only one part of the equation. Mozilla integrated some performance monitoring tools that help Web developers see how fast their websites’ navigation works. Firefox logs websites’ responsiveness so that developers can optimize their own websites accordingly. Of course, these enhancements are worth nothing to end-users, but it’s worth noting to show that developers are given the opportunity to improve their websites.
Firefox 7 is available via the Aurora channel. Bear in mind that it is still in development though, and while it already makes for a pretty stable Web browser, it should only be used by those who know what they’re doing.
Overall, I think that Mozilla has done some incredible work in the performance department. Other browser makers need to follow suit as users’ move to low-powered devices (e.g. netbooks and tablets) this means that there is growing demand for lean browsers. Firefox 7 is just that, even in its pre-beta stage. I can’t wait to see the additional improvements Mozilla has made to it and what’s in store for Firefox 8.
14 Responses to “True or False: Firefox 7 = Better Performance, Less Memory Consumption”
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