Last year, when Firefox 3.5 was released and the whole net community was amazed by the performance gains of the Open Source browser, I was only amused by the childish obsession many IT pros have with browser speed. Now, as the Internet Explorer 9 developer preview is available, touting its fabulous hardware acceleration, I am beginning to wonder if the whole net is just nuts or if I should see a doctor because something is profoundly wrong with my sense of time. I am really worried. So please help me diagnose this phenomenon!
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Of course, the first thing I tried after I installed IE9 was the speed demos that Microsoft kindly placed on the default home page. Even better is the Debug menu that allows you to switch between different Internet Explorer versions. It is common practice in browser benchmarks to test browser capabilities that play no role in real cyber world, so I was not surprised to see some browser logos flying and rotating on my screen. It was really a nice idea to use the logos of competitors in this demo, which shows how relaxed the IE developers are even though they are bashed all day by all those relentless IE haters and furious Firefox getters out there.
For the sake of those beaten IE programmers I hoped to see some significant speed differences in those funny performance demos. I switched and switched but I could not make out any speed difference no matter how hard I tried. I checked the load on my computer, but my CPU was only bored to death by these tests. So I decided to meditate a little in the hope that this would recalibrate my senses. And surprise, surprise—I then could really perceive a speed difference. I could swear that Internet Explorer 5 was faster than all the other browser versions, including IE9. Really! I could really feel it!
But then, I realized, this is not what those tests were all about. This was the point when I really started to worry about my perceptive faculty. I cleaned my glasses and looked in the mirror to see if my eyes looked unusual. I also tested my knee jerk reflexes and tried to point at the tip of my nose with closed eyes. Nothing. All performance tests ran through without any complaints and with the expected speed.
Well, I am really helpless now. Perhaps you could help me? Can you show me a web application where I can see and feel all these wonderful speed differences that everyone perceives? Please, though, no more benchmarks. I have no doubt that computers can exactly measure how long it takes to process a certain program. Show me a web application that you use every day where even your half-blind grandmother could see the difference between the sluggish Internet Explorer and the speedy Chrome browser. What I need now is a lift. I want to be a real member of the browser performance community. I also want to say wooooow, I can really feeeeel the speed! Please help me!!!