High resolution timestamps for events

The timeStamp property of the Event interface indicates the time at which a given event took place.

In versions of Chrome prior to 49, this timeStamp value was represented as a DOMTimeStamp, which was a whole number of milliseconds since the system epoch, much like the value returned by Date.now().

Starting with Chrome 49, timeStamp is a DOMHighResTimeStamp value. This value is still a number of milliseconds, but with microsecond resolution, meaning the value will include a decimal component. Additionally, instead of the value being relative to the epoch, the value is relative to the PerformanceTiming.navigationStart, i.e. the time at which the user navigated to the page.

The benefits of additional time stamp accuracy can be seen in these examples:

Cross-browser and legacy considerations

If you have existing code that compares Event.timeStamp values from two events, you should not have to adjust your code on account of the shift to DOMHighResTimeStamp. Moreover, on browsers that support DOMHighResTimeStamp, your existing code will benefit from the increased microsecond accuracy, as well as the fact that the DOMHighResTimeStamp is guaranteed to increase monotonically, regardless of whether the system clock changes in the middle of your web page’s execution.

If, instead of comparing two Event.timeStamp values, your code needs to determine how long ago an event took place, the new DOMHighResTimeStamp value can be compared directly to performance.now(). And if you need to transform Event.timeStamp to an absolute number of milliseconds since the system epoch, you can get that value by adding a DOMHighResTimeStamp to performance.timing.navigationStart.

In both of those cases, DOMTimeStamp and DOMHighResTimeStamp behave differently, but you can simplify your cross-browser code by using this conversion function, courtesy of Majid Valipour. It takes an Event object as a parameter and returns a DOMHighResTimeStamp-like value, ready to be compared to performance.now() or added to performance.timing.navigationStart.