Back in 2015, a consortium including Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and the WebKit project announced WebAssembly. This week, Mozilla, Intel, Red hat, and Fastly announced a new consortium called the Bytecode Alliance, which aims to foster WebAssembly and other “new software foundations” that will allow secure-by-default ways to run untrusted code, either inside or outside the Web browser environment.
Unfortunately, not much visible has happened in the WebAssembly project since 2015. Even today, it’s difficult to find a concrete example of what WebAssembly can do—support in various browsers is dubious at best, and it’s difficult even to find functional demos to run locally in the toolkit. The most accessible demo we could find was Google Lab’s squoosh, a simple application that allows you to play with various image storage and compression algorithms in real time.
The potential impact of WebAssembly and the WebAssembly System Interface extends far beyond the browser. The Bytecode Alliance envisions a platform that can be used, not only to run native-speed code inside browsers, but in general to make it easier to reuse untrusted code safely across multiple platforms, including server, edge, mobile, and IoT devices.