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WebAssembly: Firefox is first major browser to support game changer

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Mar 2017 8:25 User comments (5)

WebAssembly: Firefox is first major browser to support game changer

In time, WebAssembly will deliver significant improvements for in-browser high performance apps, such as video games, CAD or complex interactive visualizations.
WebAssembly allows web apps to achieve near-native performance in the browser without the need to install any additional third party extensions or plugins. Modern web apps are a long way away from the simple Javascript code of a more primitive web; they are large, complex applications.

If programmed to run natively under the host operating system, they would certainly run much better than running in the browser. WebAssembly is the answer put forward for this problem.

Unlike Javascript, all the code a programmer writes is parsed and compiled ahead of time before reaching the browser. The browser then just sees low-level, machine-ready instructions it can quickly validate, optimize, and run.

Programs written in languages like C/C++ can be ported to the web so they run with near-native performance with WebAssembly, using accompanying tools.


Mozilla released Firefox 52 (32-bit / 64-bit) today, making it the first major browser to support WebAssembly, but all major vendors have committed to supporting the emerging standard.



Soon, running modern 3D, resource-hungry video games and apps in browser will be a normal thing, while older web applications will likely be ported to a WebAssembly alternative to vastly improve their performance.

Here is a video demonstrating Epic's "Zen Garden" demo running in Firefox. The demo is built with WebAssembly and WebGL 2.

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5 user comments

19.3.2017 21:18

How does this reflect on browser security?

29.3.2017 23:46

I'm sure security was a concern but it is still a new vector.

I'm actually looking forward to this once it is a bit ironed out...although maybe not for what they intended. Supposedly you can put in code written for one platform and get web apps that work with all platforms. If it actually works, this could mean Linux would be viable for people who are currently stuck on Windows because the apps they use for work and the games they use for relaxation are all Windows-only.

Right now there is a sort of catch 22...not enough people use linux because the software and games are just not up to the level of those on Windows...and developers don't port to Linux because there are not enough users. This could end all that.

310.3.2017 00:22

Maybe, I still find Linux a bit painful. Just updating on Linux is baffling. Maybe that would all get worked out with it being more popular. Dunno. I'm not holding my breath.

Wonder how this will go with Waterfox 64bit?, which is what I use.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Mar 2017 @ 12:22

410.3.2017 21:26

Originally posted by Jemborg:
Maybe, I still find Linux a bit painful. Just updating on Linux is baffling. Maybe that would all get worked out with it being more popular. Dunno. I'm not holding my breath.

Wonder how this will go with Waterfox 64bit?, which is what I use.

None of the Mozilla family of browsers other than Firefox are likely to support it, at least at 1st. Most, if not all of them operate on their own fully individual fork of the Mozilla open-source release, not from recent Firefox builds ^^' .
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Mar 2017 @ 9:26

511.3.2017 04:02

I suppose by the time it becomes something Waterfox will accommodate it. Else I could move over to FF 64bit.

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