What is WebAssembly good for?

Understand why all major browsers support WebAssembly and why it is good technology for end-users, web developers and the IT industry as a whole.

What is WebAssembly good for? - "It depends 🤣"

While the consensus is that WebAssembly is good for many things, the answer varies on who is asking the question. Here are some areas where WebAssembly is good for.

WebAssembly is good for end-users

WebAssembly enables browsers to run interactive content with better performance and reduced power draw. Browser engines achieve this because once WebAssembly modules are loaded, there are no parsing or compiling intermediary steps before it is executed.

Prior to the existance of WebAssembly, the only way to add interactivty to websites was to do it using JavaScript code which does require parsing, validating and compiling before it can be executed by the browser.

JavaScript code is also more verbose since it's effectively a text-format. WebAssembly on the other hand is a binary format which is more compact so browsers are able to load it faster.

Websites that use WebAssembly on their websites to power interactive content can perform better and requires less computing power which - especially on mobile devices - benefits battery life which is great for end-users.

WebAssembly is good for web application developers

WebAssembly provides an alternative to developers adding interactive content to their websites. Prior to WebAssembly, the only means of adding interactivity to websites was to code in JavaScript only.

WebAssembly provides a choice to developers to work in high level languages like C#, C, C++, Rust, Swift or any other language that supports compiling to WebAssembly.

JavaScript developers can also be confident that WebAssembly is not here to replace JavaScript as WebAssembly requires JavaScript to communicate to the browser page.

WebAssembly is good for back-end application developers

While WebAssembly started out being a browser-only technology, there are examples of it being utilized for server-side functionality.

In the browser, WebAssembly runs in a sandboxed environment which prevents pages from accessing files, raw memory and other security sensitive resources. This secure-by-design nature of WebAssembly makes a desirable technology for locked down environments like cloud-lambda functions and native application scripting.

WebAssembly is good for the IT industry

WebAssembly has been adopted by all the major web browsers - even on mobile - because it is good technology. For those working in the IT industry, WebAssembly will open education and job opportunities for those in IT.

Where to next?

I have presented some reasons why I think WebAssembly is good for a variety of use-cases.

What do you think?
Have you discovered a good use for WebAssembly?
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Read more articles and tutorials about WebAssembly.


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