TechSpot

Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and more join forces to launch a new binary format for web apps

By Justin Kahn
Jun 19, 2015
Post New Reply
  1. google microsoft mozilla

    Some internet heavyweights are coming together to create a new format for web applications. The web uses JavaScript to make things happen, and over the year company’s have developed compilers to help update the aging standard and make it easier to use for developers. Now, Google, Microsoft, WebKit engineers and the folks over at Mozilla are joining forces to create a new binary format for compiling code to Java.

    Those aforementioned companies, all have there own existing compilers that either speed up or enrich the process with which apps are compiled for JavaScript. It seems as though they are now bringing their efforts together in the from of the new WebAssembly project.

    It is apparently able to decode apps much faster (up to 20x) for Java because it doesn’t need to parse the entire code. Currently focused on C/C+, at the beginning WebAssembly will launch in a sort of light version that will translate WebAssmbly compiles for any browser. Once its adoption rate gets to a certain point, the teams will begin building more tools and additional programming languages (Rust, Go, C# and more).

    The group does not intend to replace JavaScript by the sounds of it, but rather, work alongside it. The aim is to allow a larger range of languages to be translated to native browser apps more efficiently. The companies even suggest it is likely apps may be created on both platforms: WebAssembly for animations and Java for user interface code, for example.

    The interim Mozilla head, who also happens to be one of the JavaScript inventors, believes it is only a matter of time before all of the main browsers support the new format to solidify the relationship between JavaScript and WebAssembly. With so many major players having a hand in the new compile format, it is likely to catch on, especially considering it's already compatible with some of the popular compiling tools dev use for existing platforms.

    Image via Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,155   +1,431

    This project is in its infancy, and with ambitions as high as that of HTML5, or used to be.

    We know how many years it took HTML5 to reach its production-ready status, and how long it took all the browsers to support it.

    In other words, let's check back on it, say, couple years from now, and see where we're at.
     
    Arris likes this.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,342   +622

    One of the concepts of the web was "Write once, run everywhere" and Java took up that mantle - - but platform issues ended up with the necessity of platform-specific coding (ie run everywhere failed).

    It is extremely attractive to have one source run on all platforms and within all browsers.
    Perhaps this is the pathway - -
     
  4. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,155   +1,431

    For one thing, Java isn't exactly a web platform, Java Script is, and for another - Java does run on every OS, and so does Java Script. So what are you talking about?
     
  5. TheBigFatClown

    TheBigFatClown TS Guru Posts: 647   +227

    I think this is a fail. People have a mad obsession about replacing JavaScript as much as they do replacing passwords. My God people go out and a get a life. Yes, passwords and JavaScript both have their faults. But we are still using them after several years for a reason. ECMA Script version 6 makes JavaScript not suck as much as it used to even more.

    So my advice, is, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.
     
  6. byeman

    byeman TS Rookie

    "all have THERE own existing compilers"

    Stopped reading right there.
     
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,342   +622

    1) Java is a compiled language
    2) Mac, Windows, Unix, Linux are platforms
    3) Javascript is an interpretive (non-compiled language), used primarily to customize web pages and add behaviours (eg onClick() ) and is primarily implemented within Browsers
    4) Java also has Applet support (as does TclTK) which run in browsers.
    5) jscript, cscript are unique to the Windows platform​

    The original designs had Javascript 'sandboxed' to stay within the browser (ie no access to the platform resources) and only signed Java Applets could access host resources from the browser.

    So a single methodology to create an binary object which could run as a native application on a platform, or as an application within a browser is a goal that has yet to be fully obtained.

    TclTK is the closest thing with any success, but it still retains its interpretive nature although it has the JIT (just in time) precompiler upon being invoked.

    see Tcl Usage
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
  8. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,155   +1,431

    JavaScript does that fine, in every browser, and as an application, through Node JS, on every OS.
     
  9. They probably ran out of backdoors in the current way things are done
     
  10. I wonder how many readers didn't even get that?
     
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,342   +622

    the wiki says
    Note -- server side.

    Think foo.exe also. The write-once run anywhere includes desktops
     
  12. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,155   +1,431

    The run-once in this case refers to JavaScript that's being run, not Node JS. The latter is just a tool for running JavaScript applets.

    The code written in JavaScript can run in both client-side, through browsers, and server-side, through Node JS, on any OS.
     
  13. Hexic

    Hexic TS Addict Posts: 283   +132

    That, and the 'C/C+' should be 'C/C++'.. Considering C+ doesn't exist.
     
  14. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,342   +622

    And I equvocate it doesn't run native Windows, Mac, Linux DESKTOPS as in foo.exe - - therefore - - isn't run everywhere.
     
  15. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,155   +1,431

    Actually, it does! There are plenty of open-source libraries to let you write UI for all platforms in JavaScript and Node JS.

    Here's just one of them: https://github.com/nwjs/nw.js

    And there are many others.
     
  16. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,342   +622

    Peace :)
     
  17. So, it seems like the chief advantage of this WebAssembly strategy is to allow developers to write in their own favorite language. That's not a bad thing.
     

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...