Why is WebAssembly good news for everybody … and not solely for C/C++ devs ?

The dawn of WebAssembly.

Mozilla announced this week that, thanks to a close cooperation between companies, WebAssembly is now available and ready to use in every major web browser … and this is great news.

What is WebAssembly ?.. (in a few words)

WebAssembly, as its name suggests, is a very-low level language for the web : it is mainly a compilation target that enables programs written in C/C++ (or, in the future, other strongly typed languages) to be executed in the browser at near native speed.

As of today, WebAssembly (or wasm) programs run at 1.2x native code, which allows for never seen before performances in the browser.

But what makes WebAssembly even more exciting is how it interacts with its context, the browser : it allows easy communication between C/C++ and JavaScript (both ways) while offering a safe sandbox environment.

If you want to know more about it, please find, at the bottom of this article, two great talks about this technology.

So, What does it mean for web developers ?

Will you need to learn C/C++ in a hury ? Has all your experience in JavaScript just become obsolete ? Absolutely not !

What WebAssembly support really means is that you now have access, through JavaScript, to high-performance libraries for CPU-consuming tasks : everything that involves heavy computation, graphics, AI, computer vision …

While WebAssembly has still a long way to go before reaching its full potential, nothing prevents you today from compiling your favorite library and use it in your next web application project !

You may also want to write the CPU-intensive parts of your app directly in C/C++ to benefit from its speed : WebAssembly clearly opens new ways of building high-performance web applications.

How do I get started ?

WebAssembly already has a neat website with tons of info: http://webassembly.org/

You may also want to watch these two very interesting talks about the technology:

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