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Chapter 6. Power Firefox Tricks and Tech... > Other Browser Performance Improvemen...

Other Browser Performance Improvements

Other improvements enhance Firefox’s performance. These improvements include more than just improving rendering or communication. Rather they might make a combination of changes to Firefox’s configuration

Rendering and Rasterization

What is rendering and rasterization?

Rendering is the process of creating an image from graphical objects such as polygons, textures, lines, and so on. Generally, rendering is performed by the application program and not the operating system.

Rasterization is the process of taking the rendered image and placing it into a display device. This process is done by the operating system (and sometimes hardware as well) and not by the application program.

You can do little to improve rasterization—perhaps installing higher performance graphics hardware, improved and faster CPUs, or even an operating system that has a faster rasterization engine.

With rendering, you have much more control over performance. Rendering is a complex process that is far more complicated than many of us realize. For example, an optimization is made to avoid rendering objects that are not visible. This might be an object that is obscured or covered by another object that is higher in the Z order. (The Z order is the ordering of layers on an image; what is topmost is always visible and layers below the topmost layer are usually at least partially obscured by higher layers.)

No rendering engine is perfect. Some software is better than others, however. With Firefox, the goal is to improve the rendering as much as possible without trying to rewrite the program’s rendering engine. (The author has written rendering engines for GIS applications, and can assure you that it is not a trivial process!)

Rendering and rasterization together are often referred to as painting.



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