Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft Team Up for WebAssembly
Webassembly (wasm) is a new binary format formed in collaboration with tech giants Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and the engineers of the WebKit Project. WebAssembly is the new binary format for compiling applications on the web.
This binary format will be used for performance of the critical code and to compile other programming languages to be used for the web platform.
In spite of these improvements, there are still limitations to the programming language. The design of the programming language itself isn’t made for taking optimizing performance to the next level. JIT (Just In Time) compiler won’t be able to optimize aggressively as it would like and the ability to modify the behavior of built-in objects could be very problematic.
The Benefits of WebAssembly
WebAssembly is a binary format for the web created by Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and others. This binary format will be used for performance critical code and to compile it in other languages, particularly in C/C++ to the web platform.
Initially, WebAssembly is a binary format for delivering asm.js code. The advantages of such format are:
Faster loading. This is very helpful for large code bases and mobile devices where parsing becomes a bottleneck. Web Assembly can be loaded 20 times faster as the work of parsing is only minimal.
- Everything will always be backwards-compatible.
How is WebAssembly Different
Before WebAssembly, there was Adobe Flash, Google Portable Native Client, etc. All of these have failed miserably so what makes this one different? First, is that it is a collaborative effort. Firefox, Chromium, Edge and Webkit worked together on this so this could also be the next standards of the web.
What’s In It For Developers?
Old languages can now run on the web platform and WebAssembly can also be an open invitation to developers in building future programming languages.
What’s In It For Average Users?
This means that for an average web user, expect that web pages will load faster. Videos and games run on the web will run faster than before and is more optimized to work with all types of browsers and devices.
This also means that in the future, web browsers can run high-end games or even desktop apps like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Premier Pro. Sure, there already applications on the web that does that; however, with WASM, people will have a near-desktop experience.
WASM is currently in the early stages of development. There isn’t any formal standards body behind it, just an informal community group. The specifications aren’t completed and the high level design is still being decided. However, with the tech giants working together, WASM will be in your web browsers in the near future.
Average users, on the other hand, will expect faster and better performing websites. In the future, most of programs in desktop will also run on the web in a close to native performance.
Currently, the companies are implementing and discussing the design ideas for WebAssembly. It will be very interesting to know how this project progresses and in the near future, we’ll see a much bigger and brighter web that we thought would never happen.