Microsoft Edge gets new performance and stability updates

By: Madeleine Dean
2 minute read

Microsoft wants Edge to become the most powerful browser on the market, constantly rolling out updates to improve the browser’s performance and stability with the aim of doing so.

Recently, the tech giant pushed some JavaScript performance updates to its favorite browser, making it faster and more efficient. The update improves two essential areas of the Edge browser: memory usage and event-handlers behavior.

Developers use small-sized functions to break down complex coding logic into many smaller pieces. This strategy reduces repetitiveness and allows developers to read, test and debug codes faster. In addition, the browsing experience is better and faster, as smaller functions are generally easier to inline.

For better efficiency, the Edge team has refactored the metadata format used for each small-sized function incorporated in scripts. In this manner, memory won’t be consumed unless necessary:

Most of the 32-bit counters in FunctionBody were also observed to rarely have values over 256, such as the variable count or object literal count within a function. Thus these counters have been replaced by a compact structure that uses a single byte for each counter and those counters can be promoted to full 32-bit values if needed.

Inside every webpage, there is an event system with many event-handlers that define the behavior of button-clicks, mouse-overs and many other such events. Most of these events usually remain dead code because users trigger very few events when browsing. The problem is that these untriggered events can remain in a sleep state and impact memory and browser efficiency.

Microsoft Edge will change that as the browser will now delay the full parsing and bytecode generation of event-handlers until they are first called. In other words, this feature improves start-up time and also saves memory from unused handlers.

The combination of deferred parsing for event-handlers and the memory optimizations […] shrink a fair amount of memory footprint for each page.[…] our experiment […] shows that these optimizations along with other smaller tweaks typically reduce about 4% to 10% of memory usage per page opened in Microsoft Edge, with cases where the savings reach over 20%.

Perhaps these improvement can finally help Microsoft turn Edge into the most battery-friendly browser out there. Redmond recently made public the results of a battery experiment which, according to Microsoft, proved that its browser consumes 70% less battery than Chrome and 15% less battery than Opera.

Opera didn’t wait too long to carry out its own, more transparent experiment, managing to prove that its browser was indeed the most battery-friendly browser, extending computer battery life thanks to the latest Battery Saver feature. Surprisingly, Microsoft remained speechless after Opera’s reply and has yet to issue any comment on the matter.

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