The abbreviation W3C stands for the “World Wide Web Consortium” – a committee that advocates standardized technologies for the use and outsourcing development of the Internet. The body was founded in 1994 at MIT in Cambridge. The objective: to create uniform technological specifications and guidelines for the development of technologies in the WWW in order to preserve “the basic idea of the Internet”.
At its core, web assembly is a virtual instruction set architecture that enables high-performance applications on the web and a number of other environments. Web assembly extends the range of what can be deployed on the web. In view of the increasing spread of AI and machine learning, high-performance web applications are becoming more and more important, according to W3C project manager Philippe Le Hégaret in the related blog post.
Web Assembly is a binary instruction format for a stack-based VM. It serves as a portable target for compiling such high-performance languages as Rust, C or C ++. The newly appointed standard enables applications written in Rust, C or C ++ to be deployed in modern processors and web browsers.
More performance with optimized loading times
Web Assembly is like a virtual machine and execution environment in one. In this way, loaded pages can be executed as natively compiled code. This goes hand in hand with almost native performance, optimized loading times and the fact that WASM – short for Web Assembly – provides a compilation target for existing code.
That should bring the future
The W3C blog also announces some interesting features for future versions that are already being written. We are working on threads, fixed width SIMD, reference types, tailcalls and an ECMAScript module integration that allows web assembly execution files to be loaded as ES6 modules.
In the long term, a garbage collection module, debugging interfaces or a system interface for the format – called WASI, which represents a collection of modules for low-level system functions such as file and network access – are planned.
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