Editor’s Note : Gregg Pollack, a well-known name in the tech circle, is the founder of Code School, one of the premier online code-learning platforms. Have a go on his views about WebAssembly, in this post, exclusively penned down for The Tech Portal.
There have been a number of efforts to evolve the web as a platform over the last 15 years, from Macromedia with Flash to Microsoft with Silverlight. These attempts have all been geared to allow enhanced applications to be written for the Web, but most develops I know say they’ve failed. Enter WebAssembly.
Web as a “Platform”
Companies like Google have been doing everything they can for the last 10 years to convince developers that the Web is the best place or “platform” to build applications.
Developers can choose to build apps on the Windows platform, OS X platform (to run on a Mac), or they can write them for the Web platform. However, one of the biggest issues with this is that certain applications (like gaming) require a lot of processing power.
A developer who wants to write cutting edge games is going to get more performance writing for Windows or OS X, commonly referred to as writing a “native” app. With the WebAssembly language, the performance of Web platform games may get a lot closer to native.
How it Works
WebAssembly will allow developers to write faster applications in the same way Ruby and Python language developers currently do. Both are beautiful programming languages, but their applications are almost always slower than compiled languages like C.
With WebAssembly, the browser performance of a video editing application will get a major speed boost. Will it rival the speed of native? There’s no way to be sure yet, but it’s definitely going to get a whole lot closer.
WebAssembly could truly evolve the Web as an application platform. I look forward to seeing how things unfold.