Friday, December 24, 2010

[Firefox4] Improved boot

Admittedly, Firefox browser has always been slow to open, improving with each version (though the reputation has been there, as the memory consumption, completely false) but no match newer browsers such as Safari or Google Chrome.

But Mozilla is stepping up in this new version, conducting a series of important changes to improve startup, And the user less noticeable delay between you click the icon and your browser is fully functional.

Omni.jar
A bit of history. Firefox has a structure, in which each starter had to open different files .Jar (Which are ZIP files, such as tablets, but without compression. We could describe them as a simple container of files) but had its limitations. Above all, I had to open files within the folder "components"They are like modules (private browsing, cryptographic, synchronization, session ...). And these were separate files, so I had to open hundreds of files in total, and one of the assumptions about computers is that reading is extremely slow hard drive (compared with other operations). Therefore, the less read, the faster we will finish the boot.

Omni.jar comes solve this. Since it is a file that packs most of the startup files, making reading a single file and removing them in the memory via CPU (the CPU usage is tiny compared to the time to read several hundred files), which greatly accelerates the boot. In addition, this file format is ready for more optimizations (Read first the first thing you need and go use it and continue reading another thread with more files, so that the boot could be even better.)

According to MWU developer an article, We read of 259 files only 61, a 76.4% lower files.

Extensions without decompressing
If you look at your profile Firefox (3.6 or earlier) you'll see a folder called "extensions"That if you enter you can see normally a series of folders with names or numbers and letters completely indecipherable. If you open any of those folders you'll see that this is an area that has ... more files! More files to be read when you open Firefox, which can make a slower start.

Then, the developers thought ... if when you install the extensions download a single file, why not leave it as such and use the same with omni.jar ,Opening the file on the fly at boot? (Remember, that the CPU usage unzip a file in memory is paltry compared to having to open dozens of files on a hard drive).

And that's been made. In most of the extensions you install in Firefox 4 (there are some that need to be unpacked) you'll see file .Xpi instead of a directory (actually, this directory would be decompression .xpi now in packet mode. And yes, again .Xpi is very similar to .Jar, File .Zip uncompressed).

This is another point in the boot time, we already have two, but very technical, go to a more visible.

Style tabs BarTab

In Firefox 3.6 and earlier, when it reopened a session in your browser and you had dozens of tabs saved from your previous session, what happened is that all were loaded and did all the time, So you usually had to wait several seconds until you saw the browser window and began to respond appropriately to what you asked.

This has changed in Firefox 4, taking the idea of a great extension called BarTab (one for Firefox 3.6 and above, in case you want to test.) What is now Firefox is: when you open the browser and you have many tabs, load priority tab is selected (Either the first, last or whatever) and also charge only 3 tabs (Default) more, So the response is larger.

For the hands: the preference to change this is browser.sessionstore.max_concurrent_tabs within about:config. If you put 0, only load the currently selected tab, the other will not load until you click on it. If you put a value greater than 0, charged at the same time the number you've put: 1, 2, 3 tabs at once ....

As you see, things have been done to improve the boot process, to be faster (have been things in the pipeline, such as better use of memory allocations, newer compilers, further optimizations, using newer software such as SQLite ), but what are these 3 main points discussed in the article, which we hope will be (especially the third) the longest you better start.
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