August 22, 2012

Google Releases Octane, A JavaScript Testing Tool

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Google´s Chrome team has just launched a new JavaScript tool for web developers which can accurately measure real-world performance of their applications. Called Google Octane, the JavaScript benchmark suite tests web apps based on tried and true web apps and libraries. Other benchmark suites rely on artificial measures to stress tests these web apps, which may lead to less-than-true performance results.

According to the Google team, “a high score in the new benchmark directly translates to better and smoother performance in similar web applications.”

Octane uses some familiar technology, placing Google´s existing V8 Benchmark suite at its core. Octane is also capable of running tests based on Mozilla´s PDF Reader, the GameBoy Emulator, a port of the 3D Bullet Engine as well as a 2D Physics Engine. Octane´s CodeLoad tests also borrows some code from Closure and jQuery to accurately determine how fast a JavaScript is loaded and how quickly it can run some common JavaScript libraries.

According to Google, this new tool is meant to test a wide variety of JavaScript tasks and features, rather than have it be used to test one or two features alone.

“Most of the existing JavaScript benchmarks run artificial tests that were created on an ad-hoc basis to stress a specific JavaScript feature,” writes Octane product manager Stefano Cazzulani on the Chromium blog.

Octane breaks with this tradition and extends the former V8 Benchmark Suite with five new benchmarks created from full, unaltered, well-known web applications and libraries.”

According to the Google Chromium Blog, Octane runs the following tests:

  • Box2DWeb runs a JavaScript port of a popular 2D physics engine that is behind many well-known simulations and web games. Mandreel puts a JavaScript port of the 3D Bullet Engine to the test with a twist: The original C++ source code for the engine is translated to JavaScript by Onan Games´ Mandreel compiler, which is also used in countless web-based games.
  • Pdf.js is based on Mozilla´s PDF reader and shows how Javascript applications can replace complex native browser plug-ins. It measures how fast the browser decodes a sample PDF document. GB Emulator is derived from an open source emulator of a famous game console running a 3D demo.
  • CodeLoad measures how quickly a JavaScript engine can bootstrap commonly used JavaScript libraries and start executing code in them. The source for this test is derived from open source libraries (Closure, jQuery).

Google also says this new JavaScript benchmarking suite will come with an easy-to-read interface which will adapt automatically to the size of screen being used.

According to the team at, all modern web browsers operate at high speeds, delivering content and results quickly enough for most common users. If Javascript performance is important to a web developer, says, then it would be worth their time to try running Octane from any web browser with JavaScript enabled.

According to their tests, Google Chrome scored the highest, followed by Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

Google is inviting developers to give this new tool a try, or to peruse the source code at the Octane website.