Ashley Williams on Web Assembly, Wasi, & the Application Edge*
Published April 26, 2019
40 min
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    - Web Assembly (wasm) is a set of instructions or a low-level byte code that is a target for higher level languages. It was added to the browser because it was a portion of the web platform that many felt was just missing. - Wasm is still a young technology. It performs really well for computationally intensive applications and also offers performance consistency (because it lacks a garbage collector). - Bootstrapping an application using the Rust toolchain looks like: pull down a template, export a function using an attribute (defines that you want to access this function from JavaScript), and run a tool called wasm-pack (compiles it into Web Assembly and then runs a tool called wasm-bindgen that generated Rust types for Wasm). Then you can talk to that binary as if it was written in JavaScript in your code. - Cloudflare workers allow JavaScript that you might have written for a server to be written and distributed at the application edge (or close to the end user). It uses a similar model as serverless architecture platforms. - Interesting use cases such as A/B testing, DDoS prevention, server-side rendering, or traffic shaping can be done at the edge. - Wasm is an approach to bringing full application experiences to the edge. - Wasi (Web Assembly System Interface) is a standardized interface for running Web Assembly for places that are outside of the web. Fastly recently released a pure Web Assembly runtime for their edge that is built on top of Wasi called Lucet (allows access to lower level things at the edge like sockets and UDP). - Zoom has a web client written in Web Assembly. More on this: Quick scan our curated show notes on InfoQ You can also subscribe to the InfoQ newsletter to receive weekly updates on the hottest topics from professional software development. Subscribe: Like InfoQ on Facebook: Follow on Twitter: Follow on LinkedIn: Check the landing page on InfoQ:
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