Wasm Builders 🧱

Cover image for The WebAssembly Journey

Posted on

The WebAssembly Journey

WebAssembly, or WASM for short, was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and first published in 2018. It is, in their words, a “build target”, meaning that developers can bring their own code – typically Rust, C++ , or AssemblyScript—and WebAssembly compiles it to bytecode for safe execution.

Then, in 2019, Mozilla introduced its WebAssembly System Interface (WASI) to access operating system resources and break WebAssembly out of the browser to help run back-end applications in a similar way.

As a result, “developers are starting to push WebAssembly beyond the browser, because it provides a fast, scalable, secure way to run the same code across all machines,” wrote Fastly senior principal engineer Lin Clark in a 2019 blog post.

Today, WebAssembly remains a fairly complex, low-level technology that is most popular among specialist providers running large-scale content streaming platforms, high-intensity content delivery networks (CDNs) — such as Cloudflare Workers — as well as large platforms where developers can run intensive workloads in isolation from each other, as the e-commerce platform Shopify did.

Image description

Performance is very important for businesses and customers to feel secure as the world's leading financial institutions expect up-to-date data and the ability to adapt that data to their unique needs.

The hugely popular Bloomberg Terminal application displays financial data on user screens using a proprietary tabular data processing engine written in C++, which is packaged with an embedded Chromium browser front end that hosts thousands of JavaScript applications.

“Potentially speeding up some calculations is where WebAssembly opens up opportunities for us to improve the performance of our web-based components,” Itay Dafna, a Bloomberg software engineer specializing in quantitative analysis, told InfoWorld.

This is just the beginning of a promising future for such an innovative technology. Think about some facilities that can be achieved. Thinking about some recent news, the metaverse, a virtual world where people will be able to access different features from the comfort of their homes, how much safety and ease will be needed to make this practical. On this subject Tim Pearce in a lecture stated:

“WebAssembly allows internal and external developers to individual author experiences in the language and tools of their choice, such as a games engine, to produce a universal binary that is both performant and sandboxed from other experiences on the platform.”

In view of all this knowledge about this fascinating technology, I conclude that every effort spent on improving and developing this tool is an investment in a more practical and safe environment.

Image description

1 - https://hacks.mozilla.org/2019/03/standardizing-wasi-a-webassembly-system-interface/

2 - https://www.infoworld.com/article/3651503/the-rise-of-webassembly.html

3 - https://www.infoworld.com/article/3651503/the-rise-of-webassembly.html

Top comments (2)

aryank21 profile image
Aryan Kaushik

It is really helpful understand the journey of wasm.

anara profile image

I liked it too, is so amazing!