Enlarge (credit: Natalie Maynor)
Google has announced that its widely used Octane JavaScript benchmark is being retired, with Google saying that it’s no longer a useful way for browser developers to determine how best to optimize their JavaScript engines.
Octane was developed for and by the developers of V8, the JavaScript engine used in Chrome.
It was intended to address flaws in the earlier SunSpider benchmark, developed by Apple’s Safari team.
SunSpider’s tests were all microbenchmarks, sometimes testing something as small as a single operation performed thousands of times.
It wasn’t very representative of real-world code, and it was arguably being gamed, with browser vendors introducing optimizations that were aimed primarily, albeit not exclusively, at boosting SunSpider scores.

This was being done even when those optimizations were detrimental to real-world performance, because having a good score carried so much prestige.
Octane was introduced in 2012 and includes cut-down versions of somewhat realistic workloads, such as compiling the TypeScript compiler.

But since then, JavaScript coding styles have changed. JavaScript itself has changed; ECMAScript 2015 (the standardized version of JavaScript) introduced a range of new features that weren’t available in 2012, and hence aren’t tested by Octane, and all manner of new libraries and frameworks have emerged since.
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