Opera Aims High, Wants to Take Fastest Browser Title
Article by George Norman
On 10 Feb 2009
One of the key features that makes a web browser great is how fast will it be able to comply to your surfing needs – and this is where the JavaScript engines come in. Google Chrome has V8, Firefox has TraceMonkey, Apple has SquirrelFish, and Opera now has Carakan.

If the name does not ring a bell it is because Opera just recently shed some light on it. Carakan is meant to replace Futhark, the JavaScript engine Opera has been using since it put out version 9.5 of their browser (the most recent stable browser release is Opera 9.63 ). The cool thing about Carakan, aside its impressive name, is the fact that if things go Opera’s way then this engine will be 2.5 times faster than Futhark. Naturally, one question arises: Will Opera and their .7% market share grab the title of the faster browser on the web?

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“Over the past few months, a small team of developers and testers have been working on implementing a new ECMAScript/JavaScript engine for Opera. When Opera's current ECMAScript engine, called Futhark, was first released in a public version, it was the fastest engine on the market. That engine was developed to minimize code footprint and memory usage, rather than to achieve maximum execution speed. This has traditionally been a correct trade-off on many of the platforms Opera runs on. The Web is a changing environment however, and tomorrow's advanced web applications will require faster ECMAScript execution, so we have now taken on the challenge to once again develop the fastest ECMAScript engine on the market,” says developer Jens Lindström.

There are five main areas of interest that the Opera team focused upon when coming up with this new JavaScript engine: register-based bytecode, native code generation, automatic object classification, and last but not least, performance. Work still needs to be done on Carakan before it can move on to full-scale testing, but the future looks promising for Opera.



Tags: Opera, Carakan
About the author: George Norman
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