innerHTML vs removeChild
JavaScript performance comparison
Info
An attempt at a realistic simulation.
Assume a set of 400 nodes and there is some change requiring 150 nodes to be replaced.
What is the most efficient way to do that?
InnerHTML test does a complete replacement of all 400 nodes because thats all innerHTML can do, whilst the other tests only change the 150 nodes, the Control test does the same thing on all 400 nodes using remove/appendChild to help better understand the relative performance of innerHTML vs node manipulation. InnerHTML + Clone look to a faster way to replace all nodes.
Conclusion is that although innerHTML is more performant than node manipulation when replacing all child nodes, node manipulation often allows you to do less work and is therefore faster in removing a subset of nodes, noting that even so bulk inserting nodes via insertAdjacentHTML is faster than appending nodes.
The Update tests look to simply update the content of a node instead of removing and then appending it, thereby saving creating new dom nodes. Both test are slower!
Preparation code
<div id="container"></div>
<style type="text/css">
#box, #box * {
fontsize: 0;
}
#box * {
display: inlineblock;
width: 1px;
height: 1px;
padding: 0;
margin: 0;
backgroundcolor: blue;
}
</style>
<script>
Benchmark.prototype.setup = function() {
var box = document.createElement('div');
box.id = 'box';
document.getElementById('container').appendChild(box);
function refill(){
var box = document.getElementById('box');;
var html='';
var n = '<div><span>a</span><span>a</span><span>a</span><span>a</span><span>a</span><span>a</span><span>a</span><span>a</span><span>a</span><span>a</span></div>';
for(i=0;i<400;i++)html+=n;
box.innerHTML=html;
}
refill();
};
Benchmark.prototype.teardown = function() {
document.getElementById('container').removeChild(box);
};
</script>
Preparation code output
Test runner
Warning! For accurate results, please disable Firebug before running the tests. (Why?)
Java applet disabled.
Test  Ops/sec  

RemoveChild 

pending… 
Range 

pending… 
InnerHTML 

pending… 
Append 

pending… 
Control 

pending… 
Update 

pending… 
Update outside dom 

pending… 
InnerHTML+Clone 

pending… 
InnerText/InnerHTML 

pending… 
Fragment 

pending… 
Fragment Partial 

pending… 
Frag Partial 400 

pending… 
Frag 400 InnerText 

pending… 
Compare results of other browsers
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