A Hitchhiker's Guide to WebAssembly

Technical University of Munich
Tue, Sep 8, 2020, 7:00 PM (CEST)

About this event

What if you could sequence a genome at native performance inside your browser? Or play your next favorite AAA game inside an <iframe>?

WebAssembly is an open standard that defines a portable, binary-code format and is after HTML, CSS and JavaScript the fourth language that natively runs inside web browsers. Although WebAssembly primarily targets web applications, it is not intended to replace JavaScript. Instead, it complements the shortcomings of JS and provides a straight-forward interaction between both worlds.

The official standardization of WebAssembly (WASM) by W3C in 2019 is one of the most exciting recent developments in the history of the world wide web that opens up new possibilities for modern web applications. In this talk, we will look at what WebAssembly is, what it can and - more importantly - can't do (yet) and what its future holds.

While WebAssembly does provide huge benefits for specific workloads in web applications, it is by far not limited to the browser. Instead, it deliberately takes a more general approach to be a standardized binary format independent of a target platform. WASM also provides sandboxing by design and therefore allows you to run untrusted binary code on your machine or inside your application.