WebAssembly: Building Standalone and Dynamic Linking Modules in Windows

Xiao Ling
Xiao Ling
Nov 8 · 3 min read

Emscripten supports compiling C/C++ code to wasm files. Dynamic linking is a basic need for building complicated projects. In this article, I will share how to build a standalone wasm file and how to link multiple wasm files in Windows.

Tool Installation

git clone https://github.com/emscripten-core/emsdk.git

cd emsdk

emsdk.bat install latest

emsdk.bat activate latest

emsdk install mingw-4.6.2-32bit

emsdk activate mingw-4.6.2-32bit

WebAssembly Standalone

I created three simple C files: foo1.c, foo2.c and main.c.


int foo1(){return 1;}


int foo2(){return 2;}


#include <stdio.h>int foo1();int foo2();int main(){int result = foo1() + foo2();printf("hello world %d\n", result);return 0;}

Build a standalone wasm file:

emcc main.c foo1.c foo2.c -o main.wasm

The generated wasm file doesn’t depend on an Emscripten JS runtime. We can run it in wasi-supporting runtimes, such as wasmer:

> wasmer run main.wasm 
> hello world 3

Or open the .wasm file in WASI browser polyfill.

With STANDALONE_WASM option, It will also emit a .js file for running the wasm file on the web:

emcc main.c foo1.c foo2.c -s STANDALONE_WASM -o main.wasm

CMake Build

Create a CMakeLists.txt file:

Run the following command to build the project:

emsdk activate mingw-4.6.2-32bitmkdir buildcd buildemconfigure cmake ..emmake make -j4

Dynamic Linking

We can also build the *.c files to wasm files respectively for linking dynamically.

Build the side modules:

emcc foo1.c -s SIDE_MODULE=1 -o foo1.wasmemcc foo2.c -s SIDE_MODULE=1 -o foo2.wasm

Build the main module to emit the main.wasm, main.js and main.html files:

emcc main.c -s MAIN_MODULE=1 -o main.html

Serve the HTML and wasm files with Web Server for Chrome:

The dynamic libraries have not been linked yet. If you visit main.html, you will see the error message:

external function 'foo1' is missing. perhaps a side module was not linked in? if this function was expected to arrive from a system library, try to build the MAIN_MODULE with EMCC_FORCE_STDLIBS=1 in the environment

Open main.js to add following code for linking dynamic libraries:

Module['dynamicLibraries'] = ['foo1.wasm', 'foo2.wasm'];

Refresh the page. The dynamic linking sample is working now:

Downsides of Using Dynamic Libraries

Note: dynamic linking so far is not recommended because dynamic libraries have relocations for memory and function pointers, which add overhead.


Originally published at https://www.codepool.biz on November 8, 2019.

Xiao Ling

Written by

Xiao Ling

Manager of Dynamsoft Open Source Projects | Tech Lover

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