So again it's been a while since I've last posted on here, I guess anyone still reading my blog has probably gotten used to that so it's okay! I figured it was about time I'd update people reading along with some of the stuff that I've been working on lately(of course with the help of the rest of the Graphics team and others!). I will be using the term Moz2D in this post to refer to our new graphics API that was formerly known under the name 'Azure'.
Moz2D Stand-Alone Build & Repository
In order to make it easier for both ourselves, partners and potential 3rd parties interested in using Moz2D to build and work with the Moz2D API, I now have a stand-alone repository that contains the Moz2D basic library code, the player and some testing applications. The exact status of this repository is still to be determined, and no automation is applied to it yet, however we are making sure it keeps building and remains up to date! It can be found here. Some basic build instructions are available here, I will try to post more detailed build information, also for the different dependencies such as Cairo and Skia, somewhere in the coming weeks.
Direct2D 1.1 Integration
We've been working towards a Direct2D 1.1 backend in Moz2D. Direct2D 1.1 was included with Windows 8 and is provided as an update to Windows 7 users. It includes a wide range of API additions, several of which give us the ability to implement the Moz2D feature set with reduced and cleaner code. In addition to that some of the API additions should promise some performance improvements. We have refrained from using some of the new APIs in the Direct2D 1.1 implementation as of yet however, since at the moment they seem to increase the complexity without offering the expected performance benefits. As we begin rolling out Direct2D 1.1 integration to actual firefox users I'll attempt to provide more information on what we discover along the way.
Moz2D Recording & Performance Analysis Improvements
Another thing that we've been working on has been increased recording abilities as well as an increased ability to get useful information out of these recordings. Although the priority for this has been relatively low, steady improvements are being made and it has proven to be a large asset in the creation of new Moz2D backends.
First of all it's now possible to create a recording of a specific page using a single command when using Firefox nightly, an example looks like this (assuming 'recording' is a valid, clean profile of firefox):
firefox -no-remote -P recording -recording file://C:\Users\Bas\Dev\mytest.html -recording-output mytest.aer
We're currently still working out some problems which will often cause recordings to be terminated prematurely and therefore come up empty. But this should be fairly easy to fix. Do note this needs to be done on a system where Moz2D content is enabled, for now, this is only windows, although it should soon include OS X as well!
Once the recording is completed several (experimental) possibilities have been added. First of all the Moz2D player has gotten additional features, see a screenshot below for the updated look:
Note that it's now possible to replay the recording with different drawing backends (depending on your build). This easily makes it possible when adding backends to find flaws in new implementations by comparing drawing results with established backends. We've also added the possibility to analyze timings on a per-call basis to find performance bottlenecks for different backends. In addition to that a separate application called 'recordbench' has been added which is in a very early stage, this essentially is a very simple tool that reports timings for a recording across a range of backends. Trough this application we should be able to do automated performance comparisons between different drawing backends.
Finally we've added a micro-benchmark suite that allows us to make detailed performance comparisons on a per-backend basis. The intention of all this being to give us the ability to make well-informed decisions in the future as to what drawing backends to prefer on specific platforms/configurations.
This isn't necessarily all that we've been doing and I'll do my best to provide additional updates in the near future!
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