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  1. johndoeii's Avatar
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    So it's been said time and again that the web browser and much of the rendering on the Palm Pre (and WebOS) is done using webkit. there was that article a few weeks ago comparing webkit compatibility with that of iPhone, Android, Safari, Chrome, etc.

    For those who have studied WebOS under the hood and know a bit of programming, would the OS benefit from a byte-code javascript interpreter (or even something new like Nitro which converts javascript into native machine code) like SquirrelFish? Correct me if I am wrong, but this is what has contributed to the large speed-bumps seen in the latest versions of safari and chrome. The updated javascript engine in safari 4.0 gave a more than 100% improvement in performance over 3.0, correct me if i am wrong.

    which brings me to the thought: if Palm is able to update the version of webkit used in WebOS 1.5 that takes javascript performance to a new level (like safari did in v 3-->4, for example), are we in for a huge huge speed improvement?
  2. mosdl's Avatar
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    You can't simply compare desktop browsers which have a tons of memory and a fat cpu.

    However, upgrading webkit will speed up everything as browsers will get more optimized each release. Less memory/cpu would probably reduce the speed improvements compared to desktop upgraded.

    Not sure if a byte code interpreter would help much as it may slow down things and eat some more memory than before, which could cause probolems.
    Apps: MyQ for Netflix (Phone/TouchPad), Giantbomb (Phone), Excavate (Reddit/Digg clients for TouchPad)
  3. Iancarr27's Avatar
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    what about letting the pre utilize more then 1gig from the memory maybe 1.5 or even 2 and if so cant palm make a update adding more memory, also if palm updates some of the javascript errors and bugs the plauge the device in certain programs namely the mail i think the can improve speed dramaticly since i believe when email is being downloaded as they come in your google and maybe every 5 min on your other email when pulling it that makes the pre drag when your using different functions on the device at that time, maybe the reason the pre zips fast at times and slow others.
  4. #4  
    You are confusing flash memory with RAM. Flash memory is terribly slow. If Palm DID let webOS use flash memory as RAM, then the entire device would come to a halt whenever it needed to read or write data.

    Fun fact: the pre has 256MB of system memory. The 1 gig that is missing from storage memory is due to the installed OS and the application partition.

    For your main point, I believe that bytecode interpretations would only slow down the process. It works on x86 (desktop and laptop) processors because they excel at simultaneously processing different threads and doing branch predictions, etc.. Arm processors (what the Pre uses) don't multi-task well, so the time to process the bytecode would be added to the rendering of the bytecode, which would probably take longer total rather than simply interpreting the javascript raw. In any case, it would definitely eat more system memory, which is something that Palm cannot just add or steal from storage memory.

    You are right that an updated version of webkit will speed everything up a little. newer versions will typically bring more optimizations to the table.
    Last edited by Roisen; 10/30/2009 at 02:18 PM.
  5. #5  
    a just in time javascript compiler would certainly help improve app responsiveness once it's loaded, but you're right about whether or not the additional memory requirement would be worth it. I think it already uses a bytecode interpreter.
  6. #6  
    I'm hoping for good improvements across the board once we get WebKit 4 on the Pre.
    My shiny new TouchPad apps: Scientific RPN Calculator HD - Screamager HD

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