You are previewing High Performance JavaScript.

High Performance JavaScript

Cover of High Performance JavaScript by Nicholas C. Zakas Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. High Performance JavaScript
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. Preface
      1. The Internet Evolves
      2. Why Optimization Is Necessary
      3. Next-Generation JavaScript Engines
      4. Performance Is Still a Concern
      5. How This Book Is Organized
      6. JavaScript Loading
      7. Coding Technique
      8. Deployment
      9. Testing
      10. Who This Book Is For
      11. Conventions Used in This Book
      12. Using Code Examples
      13. Safari® Books Online
      14. How to Contact Us
      15. Acknowledgments
    3. 1. Loading and Execution
      1. Script Positioning
      2. Grouping Scripts
      3. Nonblocking Scripts
      4. Summary
    4. 2. Data Access
      1. Managing Scope
      2. Object Members
      3. Summary
    5. 3. DOM Scripting
      1. DOM in the Browser World
      2. DOM Access and Modification
      3. Repaints and Reflows
      4. Event Delegation
      5. Summary
    6. 4. Algorithms and Flow Control
      1. Loops
      2. Conditionals
      3. Recursion
      4. Summary
    7. 5. Strings and Regular Expressions
      1. String Concatenation
      2. Regular Expression Optimization
      3. String Trimming
      4. Summary
    8. 6. Responsive Interfaces
      1. The Browser UI Thread
      2. Yielding with Timers
      3. Web Workers
      4. Summary
    9. 7. Ajax
      1. Data Transmission
      2. Data Formats
      3. Ajax Performance Guidelines
      4. Summary
    10. 8. Programming Practices
      1. Avoid Double Evaluation
      2. Use Object/Array Literals
      3. Don’t Repeat Work
      4. Use the Fast Parts
      5. Summary
    11. 9. Building and Deploying High-Performance JavaScript Applications
      1. Apache Ant
      2. Combining JavaScript Files
      3. Preprocessing JavaScript Files
      4. JavaScript Minification
      5. Buildtime Versus Runtime Build Processes
      6. JavaScript Compression
      7. Caching JavaScript Files
      8. Working Around Caching Issues
      9. Using a Content Delivery Network
      10. Deploying JavaScript Resources
      11. Agile JavaScript Build Process
      12. Summary
    12. 10. Tools
      1. JavaScript Profiling
      2. YUI Profiler
      3. Anonymous Functions
      4. Firebug
      5. Internet Explorer Developer Tools
      6. Safari Web Inspector
      7. Chrome Developer Tools
      8. Script Blocking
      9. Page Speed
      10. Fiddler
      11. YSlow
      12. dynaTrace Ajax Edition
      13. Summary
    13. Index
    14. About the Author
    15. Colophon
    16. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly

Repaints and Reflows

Once the browser has downloaded all the components of a page—HTML markup, JavaScript, CSS, images—it parses through the files and creates two internal data structures:

A DOM tree

A representation of the page structure

A render tree

A representation of how the DOM nodes will be displayed

The render tree has at least one node for every node of the DOM tree that needs to be displayed (hidden DOM elements don’t have a corresponding node in the render tree). Nodes in the render tree are called frames or boxes in accordance with the CSS model that treats page elements as boxes with padding, margins, borders, and position. Once the DOM and the render trees are constructed, the browser can display (“paint”) the elements on the page.

When a DOM change affects the geometry of an element (width and height)—such as a change in the thickness of the border or adding more text to a paragraph, resulting in an additional line—the browser needs to recalculate the geometry of the element as well as the geometry and position of other elements that could have been affected by the change. The browser invalidates the part of the render tree that was affected by the change and reconstructs the render tree. This process is known as a reflow. Once the reflow is complete, the browser redraws the affected parts of the screen in a process called repaint.

Not all DOM changes affect the geometry. For example, changing the background color of an element won’t change its width or height. In this case, ...

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