Microsoft endorses Google’s Brotli compression algorithm, announces alpha preview for .NET

Brotli is an open-source compression algorithm that was released publicly by Google back in 2015. Unlike gzip, it was not initially released for use as a standalone algorithm, but rather as an offline compression solution for the WOFF2 font format. Within a few months, it was adopted by various browsers including Firefox, Opera, and Chrome. Back in December 2016, even Microsoft Edge started supporting Brotli as it allows webpages to load faster, and consumes less data and power while browsing the web.

Now, Microsoft has conducted some tests to see how Brotli compares to the competition, along with announcing an alpha preview for the .NET Framework and .NET Core applications.

Image via Famous1994 (DeviantArt)

Microsoft explains that three factors determine the quality of every compression algorithm. These are:

  1. Compression ratio
  2. Compression time
  3. Decompression time

To test the first factor, the company compared it with two existing compression algorithms, gzip and Deflate. Two variations of this test were conducted: “Fastest”, which lets the algorithms compress the data as quickly as possible; and “Optimal”, which lets the algorithm take as much time as it wants.

All three compression algorithms were provided with various data sets. For CSS, Brotli performed about the same as the competition on Fastest and was better on Optimal. In HTML and JavaScript, even at “middle” quality level, the algorithm was better than both gzip and Deflate at Optimal configurations. With regards to the Canterbury Corpus – which is a popular set of files used to test compression algorithms – Brotli turned out to be a massive improvement over the competition for larger files, and was slightly better, or on par with, relatively smaller files. You can check out the results for the Canterbury Corpus below (higher is better):

The second factor that was benchmarked was compression time. Although at Optimal configuration, Brotli turned out to be considerably slower than both…

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