JavaScript is being used by an increasingly greater number of websites. Mozilla Firefox 18 is set to be a speedier platform for such sites. The Mozilla team is claiming that it is including a new JavaScript technology in its upcoming browser release which will help it load sites using JavaScript up to 26 percent faster.

The new technology that will be a part of Firefox 18 is IonMonkey which is a just-in-time (JIT) compiler. In the past, Firefox has made use of other compilers such as TraceMonkey and JagerMonkey but with this this new JIT compiler, Mozilla is taking a rather new approach.

According to a post on Mozilla’s blog, “SpiderMonkey has a storied history of just-in-time compilers. Throughout all of them, however, we’ve been missing a key component you’d find in typical production compilers, like for Java or C++. The old TraceMonkey, and newer JägerMonkey, both had a fairly direct translation from JavaScript to machine code. There was no middle step.”

And now, with IonMonkey, Firefox is finally taking the middle step. IonMonkey first converts JavaScript into ‘intermediate representation’ (IR), runs various algorithms to optimize IR and finally, translates IR into machine code. This basically means that IonMonkey looks at a “big picture” of the code and performs global optimizations.

As a result, a JavaScript-enabled page loads a lot faster on Firefox 18, as compared to Firefox 17. While this is great news, the rather unfortunate part is that we still have to wait till November to lay our hands on a beta release of Firefox 18. But then, better late than never.

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