Raivo Laanemets. Software consultant.

Pkg and Node.js 8 performance


Pkg is a Node.js application compiler. It makes application distribution easier without requiring a complex infrastructure setup like Docker. It packages and creates a single executable that can also contain non-executable asset files.

However, compiled scripts suffer from a performance penalty under the V8 Crankshaft compiler pipeline. The performance hit is much smaller under Ignition+TurboFan. Ignition is the new JavaScript interpreter and TurboFan is the new JIT compiler in V8.

I made some benchmarks using Node 8 (will become LTS soon). The benchmark is a minimal Express.js application that outputs a page generated from random data using an EJS template. With this application the results were:

  • Under the Crankshaft compilation pipeline there is a performance penalty about 31%.
  • For Ignition+TurboFan pipeline the performance penalty is much smaller at about 1.4%
  • Without packaging, the Ignition+TurboFan pipeline is 6.7% slower than the Crankshaft.

The benchmark code is on GitHub.

Update 2017-06-14

The Crankshaft compilation pileline performance penalty can be avoided when the application source is included. There are certain conditions required for this. See discussion here for more information.


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