Octane, Speedometer and the Future of Benchmarking in Chrome OS
What the internet is today is a far cry from its humble beginnings as a central hub for a global hyperlinked information system where websites were nothing but simply displayed text and a browser was nothing but a portal to access that.
Now, the internet has expanded exponentially beyond a simple information retrieval center to encompass an entire universe.
This expansion is due to the relentless efforts from companies and development teams whose push is to create and put in place tools to make what was a tedious collection of information both easily shareable and accessible.
One such team is the one behind Google’s V8 engine (a subsidiary within the Chromium project).
It was the success of V8 that gave birth to Octane (Chrome’s go-to benchmarking suite), a platform that is the cornerstone of this article.
What is Octane?
Released in 2012, the Octane Benchmark Suite tests range from a variety of categories (seventeen in total) that include, animation, rendering, DOM transformations, string operations, mathematical calculations, sorting algorithms, graphics performance, as well speed and efficiency of handling memory instructions.
These test (though artificial) were designed to mimic real-world workloads the results of which were later used as the catalyst to improve overall web performance.
As modern libraries and frameworks began incorporating features that are beyond the platform’s capabilities, the incentive to use Octane became far less enticing, the team knew the benchmark suite has lost its edge and in 2017, the V8 team announced through a lengthy blog post, that it was retiring Octane. Though the platform will still be accessible, it would no longer be maintained.
Benchmark suites are like the many-headed serpents in Greek mythology called Hydra because each time one falls, there is always another waiting on the sidelines to take its place.
These added tests could be the reason why it was the recommended benchmark suite by the team that created V8 and Octane.
The platform runs tests using TodoMVC which pretends to complete to-do items by adding, completing, and removing them repeatedly using DOM APIs.
With the plug being pulled on Octane, Speedometer appears to be the next logical alternative for a benchmark suite the closely represents a typical workload within your Chromebook which is why it’s the standard we’ll be using primarily for benchmarks on ItsChromeOS.
Do you think Speedometer is a worthy replacement of Octane? Let us know in the comments!