A Beginner's Guide to

WebAssembly (WASM)

WebAssembly, also known as WASM, is a small, fast binary format that promises near-native performance for web applications. It is designed as a portable compilation target for programming languages, enabling web deployment for client and server applications.

WASM is a relatively new technology that has the potential to revolutionize the web. It allows developers to write high-performance code that can be run in any web browser, without the need for JavaScript. This means that developers can use their favorite programming language to build web applications, without having to worry about browser compatibility.

According to WebAssembly.org, additional benefits associated with WASM include:

WASM Is Efficient and Fast

The WASM stack machine is designed to be encoded in a size- and load-time-efficient binary format. WebAssembly aims to execute at native speed by taking advantage of common hardware capabilities available on a wide range of platforms.

WASM Is Safe

WebAssembly describes a memory-safe, sandboxed execution environment that may even be implemented inside existing JavaScript virtual machines. When embedded in the web, WebAssembly will enforce the same-origin and permissions security policies of the browser.

WASM Is Open and Debuggable

WebAssembly is designed to be pretty-printed in a textual format for debugging, testing, experimenting, optimizing, learning, teaching, and writing programs by hand. The textual format will be used when viewing the source of WASM modules on the web.

WASM Is Part of the Open Web Platform

WebAssembly is designed to maintain the versionless, feature-tested, and backwards-compatible nature of the web. WebAssembly modules will be able to call into and out of the JavaScript context and access browser functionality through the same Web APIs accessible from JavaScript. WebAssembly also supports non-web embeddings.

How is WebAssembly Being Used?

While WASM is still a relatively new technology, it is already being used in a variety of ways. Some of the most common uses for WASM include:

  • Building high-performance web applications: WASM can be used to build high-performance web applications that are not possible with JavaScript. For example, WASM can be used to build games, 3D graphics applications, and scientific computing applications.
  • Enabling cross-platform development: WASM makes it possible to develop web applications that can be run on any platform, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and mobile devices. This is because WASM code is compiled to a native binary format that can be run by any web browser.
  • Improving the performance of JavaScript: WASM can be used to improve the performance of JavaScript code. For example, WASM can be used to compile JavaScript code to native code, which can significantly improve performance.

The Future of WebAssembly

WASM is a promising new technology that has the potential to revolutionize the web. As WASM matures, we can expect to see it used in even more ways. For example, we can expect to see WASM used to build more complex and demanding web applications, such as virtual reality and augmented reality applications. We can also expect to see WASM used to improve the performance of existing web applications.

At Revelry, we love this stuff. If you’d like to chat about WASM (or any aspect of product development) more, let’s connect – and build something amazing together.

Dylibso Gamebox screen WASM WebAssembly Extism plug-in by Revelry
Case Study

Dylibso: Teaching Developers to Optimize WASM

Read the Case Study