Can WebRunner Help Tame FireFox Memory Leaks?

I have Gmail open in a tab ALL DAY LONG. Ditto for Google Reader. I can’t help but think that along with all of their AJAX-y goodness comes some memory leakage in Firefox.  I haven’t tested this emperically, but after a long day of browsing, the fox is happily using gigs of RAM and I’m swapping like hell. I realize most of the problem is memory leaks in extensions, but you gotta wonder about all that XHR going on in the Google apps.

Enter WebRunner, a so-called site specific browser (SSB)–yes another buzzword for your arsenal–that allows you to run a seperate browser instance apart from your main clicky-clicky. WebRunner features minimal UI and extensions: menus, toolbars, and extensions only necessary to the site you’re using. There’s a desktop shortcut to take you straight to the specific site. Finally, links to external sites open in your ‘main’ browser. Simon says your cookies are isolated as well, making WebRunner useful for development and safer browsing in XSS and CSRF-prone areas of the linkynet.

So I’m going to use WebRunner to see how Gmail and Reader handle being open for days at a time. Restarting just those ‘apps’ would be easier than saving and restoring those monstrous tab sessions every several hours.


About John Herren

John Herren is a developer and technical consultant with focus on web applications. He currently serves as Director of Development for Primetime US, the company behind the hit movie and book The Secet. John was formerly staff writer and developer community evangelist for Zend Technologies. Along with founding neat experiments like, John is an active member in the mashup community, working with API providers and speaking at conferences. He is a published author of Linux certification study material. John enjoys using open source software like PHP and Ruby on Rails to bend the web into exciting new chimeras of hyperlinked goodness. View all posts by John Herren

3 responses to “Can WebRunner Help Tame FireFox Memory Leaks?

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