I love Firefox 3.6 loves Workers

This post is late (of course), but I wanted to put in a plug for Firefox 3.6. Tremendous, tremendous work has been done since 3.5 and it all shows. In many ways the drumbeat doesn’t even need to be codified or pushed, as it’s so easy to get swept up in the passion the Mozilla community has for improving the web. My favorite part of witnessing Firefox development is probably the transparency, both in Bugzilla and in blogs, where developers and engineers can say whatever they think is important in the ongoing elucidation of the open web, consequences be damned (and it’s reactions to posts like that that demonstrate how much the rest of the world needs to learn on how to engage in an open dialogue). Congratulations to everyone involved in the new release.

But enough about other people. Most importantly, my Twitter campaign for improving TraceMonkey performance in Web Workers has clearly paid off (actual events might not reflect that statement). 3.6rc1 showed nearly identical performance for gwtBox2d running in a page’s main loop as in a Worker script, and this has carried on through to the final release. I also haven’t had any crashes running any demos (yet), which were caused (I think) by an OOM from the tracing engine. The performance increase due to parallel execution isn’t quite what I was hoping for, but I need to build in some more sophisticated profiling hooks to see what exactly is going on. Also, as fun as Canvas is for some things (and I’m working on some pixel manipulation ideas that are actually suited for the format), the way I’m using it now is much better matched with something like SVGWeb or Raphael(js). I only wish the bindings already existed.

I’ve also been racing to put together some ideas I had on making Web Workers easy to use in any GWT project. That code is finally reaching a usable state and I’ve had the pleasure of learning far more about Generators, Linkers, and the GWT compiler than I thought I would ever have the impetus to. My approach is just about absolutely nuts, but between a js physics library and a fragment-shader mime type, clearly the Scary Door has already been breached. If this project works out at all, there will be a post here in the next day or two.

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