Web Assembly and the future of JavaScript


(Michael Brett) #1

Web Assembly was announced yesterday: https://brendaneich.com/2015/06/from-asm-js-to-webassembly/

I’m not sure I understand the full implications of the new standard, but the thing that really stood out to me was the idea of WASM being a compilation target for a wide range of languages. What do you guys think this means for JavaScript in the medium-to-long term? Would be interested in your thoughts…


(Andy Wootton) #2

Would a historic analogy be the introduction of compliation into .Net byte-code for Visual BASIC, giving people the choice to move slowly to C#. There are still plenty of VB coders out there, so I wouldn’t panic.


(Michael Brett) #3

I’m sure there will be JavaScript developers for many years to come. But I wonder what the impetus to learn JavaScript will be if you are coming from, say, a Python or Ruby background, once this standard is implemented?

I was always under the impression that JavaScript was a language that was historically ridiculed but became the de facto language of the web, and if you wanted to work on the web (especially front-end) you just had to suck it up.

I think I remember a post on this forum about how kids are now taught Python as part of CS GCSEs, it does seem to be the language that many are advised to learn as they get into coding…


(Stuart Langridge) #4

If someone writes a Python to webasm compiler, then you’re welcome to use it to write your client-side code in Python instead. That’s what webasm is for.


(Michael Brett) #5

That’s what I mean. WASM is surely going to break JavaScript’s stranglehold on the web. In the medium-to-long term - why learn it?


(Stuart Langridge) #6

Why learn Python rather than COBOL? Choose JavaScript because it’s a good language.


(Andy Wootton) #7

Is it a good language or does it survive by being the only competitor?

I’m trying to get my head around what this means for Firefox OS. It feels to me like there should be an advantage in using interpreted languages in web development environments.


(Stuart Langridge) #8

If JavaScript were only interesting because there are no in-browser alternatives, node.js wouldn’t have taken off as it has.


(Andy Wootton) #9

If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail? (I don’t currently have a hammer.)