Wowzer is WebAssembly cool!

WebAssembly is an exciting technology that is advancing the web in new and interesting ways. It opens up all sorts of possibilities and additional languages to target the browser that were previously not possible before. If you’re not familiar with WebAssembly , let’s do a lighting intro and then dive into the ways we can leverage this fantastic feature.

WebAssembly , or Wasm for short, let’s us deliver compiled code to the browser that can parse and execute leaps and bounds faster than our bundled JavaScript can. But don’t worry, it’s not going to replace JavaScript or great tooling like Webpack or Babel. It’s here to supplement and help with the heavy lifting to make our web apps run at almost native speeds! Today we can write C or Rust code that with compile to Wasm and be able to interact with our existing JavaScript web applications improving developer and user experience alike.

Great use cases for leveraging the power of Wasm could be anything that is computationally heavy to be done in the browser rather than server side. Like gaming engines, image shaders or manipulation. You might be using Wasm today and not even know. Popular tooling library source-map, that lets developers match exact source files from their bundled output, is now up to 5 times faster by replacing a couple of the most intensive mapping portions of the library with Wasm! If this has piqued your interest and want to explore WebAssembly in further detail check out the resources below. If you’re already using Wasm I’d love to hear details of implementing it the good and the difficult.

Jesse Tomchak

September 06, 2019