Accelerating the overall web experience – Mozilla at Velocity Europe

This year’s Velocity EU conference had a special presentation round where browser makers talked about the performance of their specific products. I was invited last minute to represent Firefox and originally was asked to show benchmarks, impressive demos and how we compare to others. As browsers get released in very short intervals these days, this doesn’t quite make sense any longer – at least to me.

Funnily enough the other browser representatives took the same approach so I was happy to see that we agreed that we are beyond number-comparisons and head to head browser war on performance.

My talk “Accelerating the overall web experience” covered other things, like that the choice of which browser to use lies with the users and there is not much we can do to change that. I also pointed out that users will find a way to make our browsers slow, no matter how hard we try and that in a lot of cases third party add-ons and debugging tools are to blame for an impression of slowness.

I ended by showing how the new developer tools in Firefox empower developers to perform much better in finding bugs and fixing them – a part of performance that is not easily measurable but very important.

You can see the slides here (left+right to go back and forward, down for next bullet point and N to toggle notes) or read them as an HTML page:

There is also an audio recording of the talk on

All in all it was good to see that all browsers are getting faster and faster and we all see this as a given rather than a goal.

About Chris Heilmann

Evangelist for HTML5 and open web. Let's fix this!

More articles by Chris Heilmann…


  1. Félix Saparelli

    You know, I always wonder why the slides aren’t synced with the audio… shouldn’t be too hard, esp with the efforts popcorn.js has been doing on the video front. Let’s fix this! :)

    November 10th, 2011 at 07:05

  2. skierpage

    Why u no use teh Flash for your slides?!

    (I’m kidding, it’s great that they’re HTML.) Re: Mr. Saparelli, it would be cool to have something like decoupled to support audio and slides; I’d happily transcribe talks. But for audio, it’s hard to know what slide the presenter was on short of capturing current slide while recording.

    BTW, your slides don’t appear on but the audio does. Lots of demos and stuff silently fail on the Planet (and other aggregators?), maybe there could be a generic detector.

    November 10th, 2011 at 18:02

  3. pd

    Having a go at Firebug are we? Think Firefox’s new (more?) native Inspector is some revelation? Well I can tell you this: if developers had to wait for Mozilla to do native tools – which are still far inferior to Firebug – we’d have all turned to stone by now.

    Having a go at users huh? Oh woe is the browser vendor who can’t provide a speedy browser because users corrupt their precious products!

    What a terribly fatalistic and irresponsible claim. Firefox users have tolerated the terrible memory management and startup performance of Firefox for 7 years now and many of us are still loyal! Meanwhile you find ways to slow down the user’s experience at every turn from consistently hiding, de-prioritizing or moving useful pieces of UI to steadfastly failing to implement useful features and instead *forcing* us to install the very same extensions/plugins that you complain we are running!

    Geez man, fair go!

    November 11th, 2011 at 02:43

    1. Chris Heilmann

      Having a go at me, are you? I’d love to answer but without you providing an email that exists or any real gripes to work on I can’t help you. Sorry you feel so grumpy.

      November 11th, 2011 at 13:23

Comments are closed for this article.