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FTLJIT: Try Apple’s New JavaScript Accelerator

7 May 2014 847 views No Comment

To date, making JavaScript go faster has been a three horse race — SpiderMonkey (Firefox), V8 (Chrome) and Nitro (Safari). FTLJIT could upset that.

Love it, hate it or no script it, JavaScript is fundamental to the modern internet. To date, making JavaScript go faster has been a three horse race — SpiderMonkey (Mozilla/Firefox), V8 (Google/Chrome) and Nitro (Apple/Safari). FTLJIT could upset that.

Apple has begun testing FTLJIT, a new implementation of the LLVM compiler. What’s that? A bit JavaScript acceleration tech first brought to market in Mozilla’s SpriderMonkey.

Instead of generating machine code directly from the DFG IR, the DFG IR is lowered to LLVM IR and then the LLVM optimization pipeline and backend are invoked to generate machine code. That machine code is then managed by the JSC executable memory manager no differently than if it were generated by our own backends.

Huh? Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey engine can run JS code nearly as fast as native code, which is a pretty neat trick in an increasingly cloud-based world. Apple appears to be following Mozilla’s lead in adopting the LLVM approach to JavaScript acceleration.

FTLJIT: Faster Than Light?

While experimental, FTLJIT is an alternate backend available for testing in current WebKit Nightly Builds. You will, of course, need to activate manually via the command line.

It is too early to tell if JavaScript’s trifurcation will actually settle into bifurcation. Still, interesting stuff.

And, wouldn’t FTLJIT enhanced Nitro make a nice addition to OS X 10.10? Yep, ‘twould be good and the timing seems to right…

What’s your take?

Via InfoWorld

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