BLOG WebAssembly - Towards a Better Web
David Schmid
  • Author: David Schmid
  • Date: 04.01.2024 Last Update: 09.06.2024, 17:26
  • Categories: Software Development

WebAssembly, often abbreviated as Wasm, is a significant progress in web technology. It allows developers to run portable programs, known as modules, efficiently in a secure environment. Wasm primarily operates in web browsers, with a focus on optimizing its performance and security.

Main Image Blog WebAssembly

Table of Contents

The Current State of Web Development

Traditionally, web applications are reliant on JavaScript, the only programming language natively supported by browsers. Alongside HTML and CSS, JavaScript forms the backbone of modern web development. However, over-reliance on JavaScript often results in bloated applications, leading to performance issues due to large codebases.

The Role and Goal of WebAssembly

Since its announcement in 2015 and initial release in March 2017, WebAssembly has rapidly evolved. It was recognized as a World Wide Web Consortium recommendation in December 2019 and received acclaim from the programming community, highlighted by the ACM SIGPLAN's Programming Languages Software Award in 2021.

Wasm addresses several limitations of JavaScript, especially in terms of performance and number handling. Unlike JavaScript, which uses a single 64-bit type for numbers, Wasm offers a more versatile and efficient approach. This improvement is part of Wasm's broader goal to improve web applications' performance and efficiency.

Contrary to some misconceptions, WebAssembly isn't intended to replace JavaScript. Instead, it functions as a complementary technology, providing a platform for complex tasks that are beyond the scope of JavaScript.

Uniting Various Programming Languages

By allowing the use of various programming languages to generate WebAssembly bytecode, it opens the door to more diverse and powerful web applications. Languages like C, C++, Rust, and even higher-level languages such as Python and Go, can be compiled into WebAssembly bytecode, providing a diverse toolkit for developers.

Image Webassembly Programming

Rust and WebAssembly: A Perfect Match

Rust has emerged as the preferred language for WebAssembly development, thanks to its system-level capabilities and broad acceptance within the developer community. Its popularity is further cemented by its consistent ranking as a top language in developer surveys, illustrating its fit for Wasm applications.

Improved Security

A standout feature of WebAssembly is its approach to security. Unlike traditional programs with broad access to system resources, Wasm applications are sandboxed, meaning they can only access resources explicitly permitted by the user. This level of control and isolation significantly improves the security of Wasm-based applications.


Another remarkable aspects of WebAssembly is its versatility and adaptability. It is designed to operate in diverse environments, from traditional web browsers to unique platforms like blockchain virtual machines or embedded devices in wildlife tracking. This universality makes Wasm a future-proof technology, ready to accommodate a wide array of applications.

Industry Adoption in 2023

The state of WebAssembly in 2023 reflects a dynamic and evolving technology, marked by increasing industry adoption, ongoing development of supporting tools and libraries, and focus on addressing current challenges.

Several prominent companies have already integrated Wasm into their products, showcasing the diverse applications of this technology:

  • Adobe: Uses Wasm for its Edge Compute platform.
  • Microsoft: Employs Wasm across several products, including Azure Functions, Visual Studio Code, and the Edge browser.
  • Unity: Uses Wasm to create browser-based high-performance games.
  • Google: Utilizes Wasm for several products, including Google Maps, Google Translate, and Google Docs.
  • Amazon: Improves its e-commerce platform with Wasm.
  • Tesla: Employs Wasm for running safety-critical software in cars.
  • AutoCAD: AutoCAD has been brought to the web using Wasm, allowing users to access it directly via a web browser without any downloads or installations.

Notably industry players like Adobe and BMW have also shown interest in server-side Wasm. BMW, in particular, is exploring server-side Wasm for legacy application modernization and machine learning app distribution to edge devices in cars.

Image Webassembly Programming


Despite the enthusiasm, there are challenges in the wider adoption of WebAssembly. There is a growing demand among developers for advancments in aspects such as support for concurrent processing, better debugging functionalities, better garbage collection methods and integration support outside of web browsers.


WebAssembly marks a significant leap in web technology, offering a more efficient, secure, and versatile platform for web development. This evolution marks a shift from the traditional reliance on JavaScript.

Recognizing the potential of Wasm, joins its commitment to this promising technology. It offers exciting prospects for developers and businesses alike.

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