Opera has announced that it is at work building a new JavaScript engine, dubbed Carakan, which according to private is already more than two times faster than the current engine in Opera 10. This is a particularly important improvement considering the growing number of web applications that rely on JavaScript to provide a desktop-like experience and the ongoing efforts from rivals to claim "fastest" status.

Indeed, JavaScript performance is not the only approach to faster browsers but that is certainly where the race seems to be. Mozilla, for instance, has been working on its own superfast JavaScript engine called TraceMonkey while Google's Chrome has the V8 engine and Webkit has Squirrelfix Extreme.

Opera for its part has focused on improving on the previous engine in three main areas: register-based bytecode, native code generation and automatic object classification - you can read about these changes in detail here. The new engine is still a work in progress, though, and the company has already warned users not to expect it in the upcoming Opera 10 release.