It's also not simple to guarantee that each browser loaded exactly the same information. Big websites such as those of the news providers like to show different ads with different loads to different people with different browsers. The website developers may hide some of the different ways that they treat the different browsers. As far as I can tell from reading the source from Vimeo, the site is still using Flash on all of the browsers, but it's much harder to be certain without digging deeply into the code.
The table below shows three columns totaling the memory consumed. The first column shows the memory count for just one blank open page, the second shows the count after five news sites are opened in separate tabs, and the third shows the count after five news sites and five AJAX sites are open (ten sites total).
The five news websites:
The five AJAX websites:
- CKEditor -- -- a feature rich document editor
- GWT-Ext Showcase -- a playpen full of Google Web Toolkit widgets
- OpenStreetMap -- a tool for editing open source maps
- Yahoo! Local Maps -- Then going to 42nd Street in New York City and searching for Starbucks
- Vimeo -- another video sharing site
There are plenty of holes in this approach:
The numbers change. I watched one Safari process oscillate between 14 and 20 before disappearing entirely.
Windows is not Safari's home platform, even though it's a very polished browser.
It's hard to know whether the web developers are treating each browser in the same way. The Vimeo site, for instance, seems to use Flash for all browsers but I can't be certain without devoting more time and better instrumentation.
It's hard to standardize the features being compared. Opera offers something called "speed dial" that displays the most recent page, and this page pops up when you request a blank page, loading a handful of pages in the background. The result is 86ms just to display a blank page. When speed dial is hidden, it only takes 35ms to open a blank page. But is speed dial really hidden?
|Open blank page||5 news sites||5 news & 5 edit sites|
|Firefox 4.0 beta||25||103||151|
|Internet Explorer 8.0||20||243||441|