By  Peter Wayner

11 surprising ways developers are using Wasm

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2024-06-11 11:00:07

By Peter Wayner

Contributing writer, InfoWorld |

When the browser began, it was just a window for displaying some text and maybe a few images. It was just a new way to distribute the same kind of documents that you might find on a coffee table, like magazines or books.

Java, JavaScript, and CSS changed all that. Just adding a bit of Turing-complete functionality was all it took, and clever programmers found ways to duplicate word processors, games, and more inside what once was a container for words and pictures sitting still.

For all the creativity, though, applications running in browsers were still slower and more resource-hungry than native code. WebAssembly was designed to fix this. The code comes precompiled, so there is no need for just-In-time anything. It's much smaller, which shrinks bandwidth costs and network delays. It offers a low-level, general solution, so developers can deliver code to the browser without stooping to JavaScript's level, or even needing to transpile their code.

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