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Accurate web-app performance tests proposed

W3C steps beyond the browser

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The W3C is planning a set of tests for developers to easily and accurately measure the performance of web applications.

The group has announced formation of the Web Performance Working Group, which it said will deliver user agents and APIs to measure performance of web applications in mobile and desktop browsers and in "non-browser environments".

As such, the group will work closely with other W3C working groups on HTML, CSS, SVG, WebApps and DAP.

The group will use the W3C's WebTiming proposal as a starting point to measure the time it takes to use and navigate a web-based application. Also planned are test suites and best-practice documents.

Google and Microsoft are co-chairing the group.

Outlining the group's charter, the W3C said:

"As Web browsers and their underlying engines include richer capabilities and become more powerful, web developers are building more sophisticated applications where application performance is increasingly important. Developers need the ability to assess and understand the performance characteristics of their applications using well-defined interoperable methods."

The decision to focus on standardized and consistent set tests comes as different benchmarks have been used by browser makers to prove their performance of their browsers. The range includes Acid3, V8 and SunSpider to test JavaScript, DOM, and other elements.

The problem is, there's no rule on which test developers should pay attention to when it comes to measuring a browser's performance, while the browsers themselves are getting left behind by web apps that run on the desktop or device and outside of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari. ®

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