Neil's News

Faster is Better

17 June 2008

One of the advantages of Open Source software is that unexpected contributions periodically roll in. The Diff, Match, Patch library I wrote in JavaScript, Java and Python has just been joined by a C++ port written by Mike Slemmer. As is usually the case when porting or documenting complex code, several improvements were found which benefited the original versions. The Java and Python versions are now about 30% faster than they were before.

Of course the other big news today is that Firefox 3 is finally out (after recovering from the mother of all slashdottings). This release is really great, partly because it's got some great fixes submitted by Mathieu Fenniak but mostly because it brings Firefox into the same league as Safari and Opera in terms of speed. Below is a graph showing how long the latest release of each browser takes to execute the unit tests for Diff, Match, Patch. Overlaid on the graph are their current market shares. Interesting inverse-correlation. I guess if you are the market leader, you aren't forced to be good.

[Browser speed vs market share]

Some electronic bugs seen at last weekend's RoboGames in San Francisco:

[Electronic bugs #1]
[Electronic bugs #2]
[Electronic bugs #3]

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