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Apple Implements LLVM JIT Back-End For WebKit JavaScript

Compiler

Published on 14 May 2014 12:46 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Compiler
13 Comments

For speeding up the JavaScript performance within upstream WebKit, Apple developers have implemented a new just-in-time (JIT) back-end that's based upon LLVM.

WebKit's newly-enabled JavaScript JIT support is based on LLVM. The new LLVM-based JIT compiler is called FTL, for the Fourth Tier LLVM. For right now this new high-performance JavaScript back-end is enabled for the Mac OS X and iOS versions of the open-source web-browser rendering engine.

Apple developers have been working on this LLVM FTL support for the past year and have now finally been able to turn it on. By basing it on LLVM, they are taking advantage of new optimization approaches previously not applicable to WebKit's JavaScript.

Early performance figures by Apple show the FTL JIT support being much faster than their earlier DFG JIT back-end along with other comparison pipelines. While these early results are good, developers still have more performance optimizations planned for the LLVM FTL JIT support.

This WebKit LLVM support was brought up Tuesday on the LLVM developers' list and you can learn a lot more in detail via the WebKit.org blog.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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