WebKit Now Has Full WebAssembly Implementation

WebKit, an open source Web browser engine used by Safari, App Store, and many other OS X, iOS, and Linux applications, now has a full WebAssembly (wasm) implementation. This is the second major announcement involving wasm in the span of about a week. Just last week, Google announced the company is ending support for Portable Native Client (PNaCl) in favor of wasm.

WebAssembly is a new portable format used for compilation to the Web. It’s designed to be especially efficient when it comes to size and load time. This new format recently reached cross-browser consensus status and will include a JavaScript API that allows wasm to be accessed on the Web. The consensus will also include a portable low-level binary format and a reference interpreter. WebAssembly is suitable for use with existing languages like C++, and according to the WebKit blog post, it “executes C++ code at near native speed.”

Now that WebKit has a full WebAssembly implementation, the Safari browser should soon include support for wasm as well (Safari preview version already supports the format). Chrome and Firefox browsers have full support for wasm.

There is a W3C community group that includes representatives from all major browser companies currently working on designing wasm as an open standard.

Be sure to read the next Browsers article: Mozilla Announces WebExtensions API for Cross-Browser Extensions