So back in 1993, the Mosaic browser of National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) was one of the first popular web browsers. A year later, Netscape Communications created the proprietary web browser, Netscape Navigator. Several original Mosaic authors worked on Navigator.
The V8 Engine
1) Full-codegen: a fast compiler that produces unoptimized code
2) Crankshaft: a slower compiler that produces fast, optimised code.
If Crankshaft determines that the unoptimised code generated by Full-codegen is in need of optimisation, it replaces it, a process known as ‘crankshafting’. In general, the goal of a V8’s parsing and execution process is to generate the most optimised code in the shortest possible time.
Why even bother?
The evolution of those engines happens in parallel to our quest to evolve our web applications and make them as performant as possible. To track this evolution, you can see how various engines perform in benchmarking graphs such as those produced on arewefastyet.com. It’s interesting, for example, to compare Chrome’s performance when powered by V8 versus a non-Crankshafted engine.