WebAssembly & Low-Code

Dominik Keller
Apr 28th, 2022
Blog

WebAssembly is a new type of code that can be run in modern web browsers. Together with low-code, it has the potential to transform how the developers build applications for the web.

The JavaScript Dominance

According to an article on Medium, as of 2019, there were over 1.6 billion web sites in the world. And JavaScript is the dominant programming language, used on 95% of them. This is not a big surprise. After all, JavaScript is the only programming language that is intrinsically supported by all browsers. Or is it?

Thanks to WebAssembly this has changed.

What is WebAssembly?

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) designed and develops WebAssembly. W3C first announced WebAssembly in 2015. In 2017, the W3C first demonstrated the technology.

Some people think that WebAssembly or Wasm is a programming language. But that’s not entirely true. WebAssembly is a type of code, but not one that is intended to be handwritten by programmers. Instead, WebAssembly is a compilation target for commonly used programming languages, such as C, C++ or Rust.

How does WebAssembly work?

WebAssembly takes the source code written in another language and makes it compatible for use inside a web browser. The process looks like this:

  1. Source code (e.g., C++ or Rust): You have an application written in a compatible language that you want to execute in the browser.
  2. WebAssembly bytecode: You choose WebAssembly bytecode as your compilation target. As a result, you get a .wasm file.
  3. Machine code (opcode): The browser loads the .wasm file and compiles it to the corresponding machine code of its host system.

If you would like to find out how to build your first application with Wasm, we recommend the OpenSource.Com article on “How to write ‘Hello World’ in WebAssembly”.

Summary

WebAssembly, as a compilation target for other programming languages, is the only other standard language to run natively in browsers, alongside JavaScript. This shows just how important WebAssembly is. All modern browsers, meaning Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer or Edge support Wasm, and they can run it at near-native speed.

In conclusion, WebAssembly transforms web development. By serving as a compilation target to run code in the browser, it opens the door for web development in languages other than JavaScript. For an overview of what these languages are, check out the official webassembly.org website.

WebAssembly & Low-Code

How does WebAssembly relate to low-code development?

WebAssembly is a technology worth paying attention. It has the potential to transform the future of web development.

Low-code engineering, on other hand, is a new way to rapidly develop & deploy web applications. It has the potential to transform how developers build software.

Here at Five, we are building a language-independent, in-browser development environment that supports Wasm. In the future, developers will be able to write code not just in JavaScript, TypeScript or C#, but in almost any language right inside Five. This code is then compiled to Wasm and can used to develop & deploy device-independent web applications. In this way, we’re working on combining the two big trends of web development: WebAssembly and low-code.


TL; DR: WebAssembly & Low-Code

WebAssembly (or Wasm) is a compilation target for many popular programming languages, such as C#, C, Rust and C++. All major browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Edge) support Wasm.

By compiling their code to Wasm, developers can build highly-performant web application in almost any programming language. At Five, we’re combining the two big trends in web development: Wasm and low-code development.

Share Post:

Thank you for your message!

Our friendly staff will contact you shortly.

CLOSE