What Is WebAssembly (Wasm), and What Can It Do for You?

What Is WebAssembly (Wasm), and What Can It Do for You?

Developers created WebAssembly (Wasm) as a portable target for low-level languages like C, C++, and Rust, allowing these languages to operate in the browser with performance close to that of native code. It is a new type of code that modern web browsers can execute alongside JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. In this article, we will explore what WebAssembly is, how it works, and what it can do for you.

What is WebAssembly?

A low-level language called WebAssembly is created to be executed on a virtual machine and produces code that is highly efficient. It is similar to assembly language in this respect. However, unlike assembly language, WebAssembly is not specific to a particular platform or architecture. This makes it possible to compile code written in a variety of languages to WebAssembly, including C, C++, and Rust.

How Does WebAssembly Work?

WebAssembly (Wasm) code is compiled to a binary format that is then loaded into a virtual machine. The virtual machine is a runtime environment that executes the WebAssembly code. Developers designed the virtual machine to be fast and efficient, with a small footprint that can easily embed in web browsers.

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WebAssembly is designed to work alongside JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. This means that WebAssembly code can interact with JavaScript code, and that JavaScript code can interact with WebAssembly code. This makes it possible to create powerful web applications that leverage the strengths of both languages.

What Can WebAssembly Do for You?

WebAssembly offers a number of benefits for web developers, including improved performance, greater security, and the ability to leverage existing code.

Improved Performance

Improved performance is one of the key benefits of WebAssembly. The performance benefits of WebAssembly are particularly significant for computationally intensive applications like games or simulations. This is due to the fact that WebAssembly code is compiled into a binary format that is optimised for operation in a virtual machine, but comparable JavaScript code runs far slower than WebAssembly code.

Greater Security

WebAssembly also offers greater security than JavaScript. As WebAssembly code operates in a sandboxed environment, it cannot access the user’s computer or network directly. Web apps can operate in a more secure environment since WebAssembly code operates in a sandboxed environment. This is because there is less chance that harmful code will be executed in the browser.

Leverage Existing Code

WebAssembly also makes it possible to leverage existing code written in low-level languages such as C, C++, and Rust. This means that developers can take advantage of the performance benefits of these languages without having to rewrite their code in JavaScript. This is particularly useful for developers who have existing code bases that they want to make available on the web.

Examples of WebAssembly Applications

There are a growing number of applications that use WebAssembly, ranging from games and simulations to productivity tools and compilers.

Games and Simulations

For example, the popular game engine Unity has added support for WebAssembly, making it possible to build games that run in the browser with performance close to that of native code.

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Productivity Tools

Developers can use WebAssembly to create browser-based productivity solutions, such as the Figma design tool, which utilizes WebAssembly to perform computationally expensive activities, including rendering graphics.


By compiling the Rust programming language to WebAssembly, developers can run Rust code in the browser with performance comparable to that of native code, since WebAssembly can act as a target for compilers, enabling code written in multiple languages to run in the browser.


WebAssembly (Wasm) is a powerful new technology that presents several advantages for web developers, as it allows low-level languages to run in the browser with performance comparable to that of native code.