WebAssembly with Lin Clark

JavaScript has been the exclusive language of the web browser for the last 20 years. Whether you use Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari, your browser interprets and executes code in a virtual machine–and that virtual machine only runs JavaScript. Unfortunately, JavaScript is not ideal for every task we want to perform in the browser.

Think about the use cases where you need to use software outside of the browser: video editing, music production, 3D art, video games. These applications require a high degree of performance that is hard to get from raw JavaScript.

WebAssembly was created to get better performance on the web. WebAssembly allows code from other languages to be compiled and run in the browser. With WebAssembly, languages such as C, C++, and Rust can be used to achieve major performance gains. WebAssembly is still under development, and eventually more programming languages will be accessible as well.

Lin Clark is an engineer on the Mozilla Developer Relations team, and has been working closely on the WebAssembly project. She is the author of a detailed series of illustrated blog posts that explain how WebAssembly works. In this episode, we discuss how WebAssembly came to be, its advantages over a web driven purely by Javascript, what is possible with WebAssembly, and its engineering implementation.


Transcript provided by We Edit Podcasts. Software Engineering Daily listeners can go to weeditpodcasts.com/sed to get 20% off the first two months of audio editing and transcription services. Thanks to We Edit Podcasts for partnering with SE Daily. Please click here to view this show’s transcript.


DoiT International helps startups optimize the costs of their workloads across Google Cloud and AWS, so that they can spend more time building new software–and less time reducing cost. DoiT International helps clients optimize their costs–and if your cloud bill is over $10,000 per month, you can get a free cost-optimization assessment by going to doit-intl.com/sedaily.

Flatiron School is an outcomes-focused coding bootcamp, offering transformative education in person and online. Start learning for free at flatironschool.com/sedaily and get $500 off your first month of Flatiron’s Online Data Science Bootcamp or Online Web Developer Program.

ActiveState gives your engineers a way to bake security right in your languages’ runtime. You identify security vulnerabilities, out-of-date packages and restrictive licenses (e.g. GPL, LPGL). Get more info at activestate.com/sedaily

Video is complex, and figuring out how to optimize the delivery of video is not easy–especially since there is both mobile and desktop, and mobile users might not have as much bandwidth as desktop users. Check out mux.com — after you’ve signed up, mention Software Engineering Daily for a $50 credit. And if you are an engineer who is looking for work, you can also apply for a job at mux.com.

Software Weekly

Software Weekly

Subscribe to Software Weekly, a curated weekly newsletter featuring the best and newest from the software engineering community.