Will WASM Make Dev Experience 10X Better?

Blockless
3 min readFeb 16, 2023
The Benefits of WebAssembly for Cloud Developers: Faster, Safer, and More Portable

WebAssembly (WASM) is a technology that has gained significant attention in the tech world, particularly in the context of cloud computing and cloud-native app development. While WASM was initially designed for the web, it has since expanded to other use cases, including cloud computing. In this article, we will explore how Wasm will greatly improve developer experience.

What is WASM?

Before we dive into the details, let’s first define what WASM is. WASM is a binary instruction format for a stack-based virtual machine that enables efficient and secure execution of code on various platforms, including the web and cloud. Unlike JavaScript, which runs in the browser, Wasm runs directly in the browser engine and can be executed up to 20 times faster than JavaScript.

The application of WASM is actually far beyond the browser. Solomon Hykes, co-founder of Docker, a leading virtualization software platform that enables devs to run software across various computing environments, said that : “If WASM existed in 2008, we wouldn’t have needed to created Docker.

Cofounder of Docker talking about WASM

And it’s not just him. In fact, many in the cloud computing space think WASM will lead to the next evolution in distributed computing. Below we list out a few major benefits WASM offers.

Advantages of WASM

  1. Fast: Wasm is designed to be a low-level language that is optimized for performance and efficiency. This means that it can handle complex computations faster and with less overhead than traditional web technologies such as JavaScript. This improved performance can greatly improve the experience for developers working on computationally intensive applications, such as real-time audio and video processing, machine learning, and gaming.
  2. Secure: Sandboxed and operating in a deny-by-default where explicit access to individual capabilities is granted. Since it is a sandboxed environment, it can execute code securely without exposing the underlying system to any security risks.
  3. Language Agnostic: One of the biggest advantages of WASM is its flexibility and compatibility. Since Wasm is a low-level language, it can be compiled from a wide range of higher-level languages, such as C, C++, Rust, and even Java. The list of supported languages kept growing.
  4. Portable: With WASM, developers no longer have to singularly optimize software for different operating systems and CPU architectures, as WASM binaries naturally runs across all platforms. This enables improved code reusability, making it easier to maintain and update code, and reducing the need for platform-specific code. Write once, run anywhere.
WASM is language agnostic
WASM is language agnostic. Source: WebAssembly — What it is & Why is it so important. By ARGHYA C

Disadvantage of WASM

Though WASM holds great premise in revolutionizing the way developers build products, as of now it also has a few disadvantages. Mainly:

  1. Limited library support: While there are many languages that can be compiled to WASM, not all libraries and frameworks are currently supported. This means that developers may need to spend more time finding or creating the necessary libraries to implement certain features or functionality.
  2. Steep learning curve: While Wasm is designed to be a low-level language, it still has a learning curve that can be steep for developers who are not familiar with languages like C, C++, or Rust. This can make it more challenging for some developers to adopt WASM and use it effectively in their projects.

Final Thoughts

WASM is a new technology with a bright future, revolutionizing the way developers build products. With its superior performance, security, flexibility, and compatibility, WASM is a technology that all cloud developers should be paying attention to.

By embracing WASM, developers can take advantage of its many benefits and create better, faster, and more secure applications that can run across a wide range of platforms and environments.

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