What is WebAssembly? Why is it useful and important in website design? What are the benefits? Why do some experts consider it very effective in the future of web design?

The evolutionary history of web design in the world shows that professionals and programmers are looking to make web design easier, faster and more efficient. For this reason, front-end and back-end development frameworks and content management systems such as WordPress were launched. Also, functional languages ​​in web design are constantly updated and powerful libraries are created for them. On the other hand, browsers are becoming more powerful every day and various technologies such as AJAX give designers and developers more possibilities to improve the performance of websites.

WebAssembly or Wasm is one of the latest tools and developments that have been made in recent years in collaboration with the giants of the technology world (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla, and W3C) and have made website design easier and more efficient. Wasm is a new language for web design and development. This content is about that new language and answers the questions that were raised about it at the beginning.

What is WebAssembly?

Defining a web assembly is not an easy task. For this reason, unfortunately, these misconceptions have become common that Wasm is the same as JavaScript or C++ or is only related to one of those two programming languages. But none of those notions are true. In order to define web assembly very simply and clearly, it is necessary to first talk about some concepts and programming languages.

  • JavaScript: The foundation of web design is HTML and CSS markup language and JavaScript programming language. JavaScript is a high-level, interpreted programming language that runs in the browser. The main use of JavaScript is interactive and dynamic pages, as well as the implementation of website UI design. For example, if the site designer wants to add animation to the site page, he uses JavaScript.
  • Compiled languages: Programming languages ​​are divided into two categories: interpreted languages ​​or compilers. High-level programming languages ​​such as JavaScript and Python are not comprehensible to computers. Because high-level languages ​​are similar to natural language (human language), it is easy for developers to code. So, before the machine (computer) can execute the codes, it must first translate them into its own language, the language of zeros and ones. The translation process may happen in two ways: line by line or all at once. That is, either all the written codes are compiled into machine language at once or they are interpreted line by line.
  • Binary code: Computer language or machine language is the language of zero and one, binary language. Everything we want the computer to understand must be given to it in the form of zeros and ones. Languages ​​that are written with zero and one are called low-level languages ​​because it is very difficult and time-consuming for humans and programmers to understand. As a result, programming in low-level languages, such as assembly language, is also very difficult and time-consuming.

Definition of Wasm

So what does the above concepts have to do with Wasm? Low-level languages ​​and other high-level languages ​​cannot be easily used for website design. While if he talks to the computer in his native language, everything (processing and executing the codes and as a result the performance of the site) will be faster. In addition, the use of other programming languages ​​(besides JavaScript) provides more possibilities to the developer and programmer.

The web assembly engine was created to allow site designers to use other languages ​​in website design. Web Assembly converts code written in any high-level language into binary code (low-level executable code). Browsers can understand and execute Wasm binary code just like JavaScript code.

Before Web Assembly, JavaScript was the only familiar and understandable programming language for browsers. But today, new versions of browsers are compatible with Wasm codes and recognize and execute them. Among the definitions provided by web assembly, the developer.mozilla.org definition is simpler and easier to understand than others.

“Web assembly is a new type of code that runs in modern browsers. Web assembly codes provide new features to the site designer and make the site performance much better and faster. WebAssembly is not designed to be written by a programmer. Rather, it is designed to be a strong compiler and translate codes written in source languages ​​such as C, C++, Rust, etc.”

The importance of web assembly in website design

In order to know the importance of web assembly codes, it is necessary to count its advantages and features in website design. What facilities and features does web assembly provide to the site designer that were not possible in web design before 2017 and its birth?

After the web assembly, the site designer can use any language he wants for coding. He writes the code and is relieved that once he converts it to Wasm code, it will run in the browser. This feature opens the hands of site and web application designers to develop complex and heavy projects (such as Google Earth or 3D games and virtual reality and augmented reality sites and web apps).

Wasm optimizes site performance because its code is lighter, so it runs faster in the browser and requires less loading time. This means that the site designer can design more complex and detailed pages, but not worry about the page loading time and the user’s delay. But doesn’t JavaScript have the same features? Yes, but in all cases and all projects, JavaScript does not provide the necessary speed and performance, especially for very heavy tasks.

It is true that the developer or programmer does not write the Wasm code, but he can read it and edit or modify it if necessary (debugging). Two file extensions are used to store web assembly codes: wat. Which is the code format for having text and wasm. For binary format codes. The developer is easily able to edit the text format.

Wasm & JavaScript

What is the relationship between JavaScript (JS) and Web Assembly? Web Assembly and JavaScript complement each other. JS is a 26-year-old language with many libraries and plugins. Also, browsers have a strong infrastructure for processing and executing JavaScript codes. Overall, JavaScript is an old and powerful language. But as mentioned, JavaScript has limitations and its power is not enough for all projects.

Web Assembly is a very new language and has features that make it different from JavaScript. But Wasm is built to work alongside JavaScript and overcome its limitations with the help of JS features. This means that these two languages ​​are connected to each other and use each other’s facilities. With Web Assembly, you can call JavaScript codes and get data from JavaScript and vice versa.


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