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This article was published on November 6, 2013


Google releases version 2.0 of its Octane JavaScript benchmark tool with a focus on reducing latency

Google releases version 2.0 of its Octane JavaScript benchmark tool with a focus on reducing latency
Emil Protalinski
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Emil Protalinski

Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, incl Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, TechSpot, ZDNet, and CNET. Stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Google today announced Octane 2.0, the second iteration of its JavaScript benchmark tool that now features 17 tests. The company says version 2.0 of the Octane Benchmark Suite includes a new focus on reducing latency, as well as new benchmarks and updates to existing ones.

Google argues that while traditional benchmarks simply measure how quickly JavaScript can be executed, Octane 2.0 goes a step further by testing latency, or the time delay experienced in a given system. The company says this is “another important aspect of performance that is concerned with the smoothness of execution.”

In JavaScript engines, latency usually comes from two computationally-intensive sources: compiling code to machine instructions so it can run faster, and garbage collecting memory that is no longer used. If either of these run for too long, users will notice hiccups and/or freezes in their JavaScript apps.

Octane2

The Octane team has modified the Mandreel and Splay benchmarks to measure how well JavaScript engines can minimize these pauses. At the same time, it has fixed three benchmarks (Regexp, GameBoy Emulator, and CodeLoad) to ensure that they measure what they were intended to. The group also added two new performance tests that target important use cases; both help measure a JavaScript engine’s ability to deal with heavy and complex workloads.

The first is a new test based on the Typescript compiler from Microsoft, a heavy and complex JavaScript application that stresses raw execution speed, code parsing, and the memory subsystem. The second is the zlib benchmark, an asm.js test from the Mozilla Emscripten suite.

Google uses Octane to test the performance of the V8 engine in Chrome, and sometimes makes a point to underline big improvements in new browser releases. With a new Octane release, it’s fair to expect Chrome will be tested all the more intensely.

You can run Octane 2.0 in your browser here.

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