Performance Timing Information: Part 1 - Navigation Timing

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Since August 2010, the Web Performance Working Group has quietly but steadily added various timing information in the Open Web Platform. We introduced the performance attribute on the Window object, and are extending it since then using several specifications. For this first article, we'll start with Navigation Timing.

Navigation Timing

Navigation Timing gives access to timing and navigation information for the overall document. Thus one can easily calculate where time is spent between the start of the navigation in the user agent until the end of the load event processing. The Web application can access timings for unloading the previous document, various HTTP redirects, domain lookup, connection to the server, etc.:

Navigation Timing information

The intent is to provide a complete end-to-end latency picture when measuring a Web application. Developers can then fine tune their applications based on those information. For example, to calculate the user perceived page loading time, one can simply do the following:

// returns a duration in milliseconds
function getUserPerceivedLoadingTime() {
     - window.performance.timing.navigationStart;


The July 2012 implementation report shows that this is supported in Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. The following code should help for feature detection:

 if (!!window.performance) {
   // do something with Navigation Timing

Analytic sites or tools are slowy integrating those information in their reports.


The first version of Navigation Timing is finished and only supports time values accurate to the millisecond. Navigation Timing 2 will support time values accurate to a thousandth of a millisecond but it is still work in progress so don't expect support for it soon.

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