WebAssembly might change the way we program web apps. It might even make the distinction between web and native apps disappear all together. But for this to happen it has to be finalized and implemented. Mozilla has been busy working on the WebAssembly tool chain.
In the summer of 2015 a new project was launched to create a WebAssembly language. That is a low level language that could be implemented by browsers that would allow close to native code speeds. WebAssembly is backed by Microsoft, Google and Apple, which is good news, but you have to keep in mind that the extent of the backing isn't clear and at the moment there are no browsers that actually run WebAssembly.
WebAssembly in the browser isn't the only issue. It is a low level language and it isn't going to be written by humans, it is going to be generated by compilers from other languages. What this means is that as well as needing browsers to run it, it also needs tools to create it.
Some WebAssembly created by compiling asm.js
Mozilla has been talking about the Binaryen toolchain that includes a compiler for asm.js:
Parse and emit WebAssembly, supporting the current S-Expression format
Interpret WebAssembly passes 100% of the spec test suite
Compile asm.js to WebAssembly
This is a start and it can be seen that in the future it will be a useful part of the tool set for WebAssembly, but if it is to be widely used we are going to need better tools and at least one browser that supports WebAssembly.
This is one to watch in the coming year.
One of the many proposed WebAssembly logos - contribute your suggestion at the GitHub page.
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