Cadillac WebAssembly Line
This week we take a look at WebAssembly (Wasm) and the implications of ubiquitous stack-based virtual machines.
Albert King - “Cadillac Assembly Line” (1980)
This week we take a look at WebAssembly (Wasm)and the implications of ubiquitous stack-based virtual machines. For example, even from a low end Linux or even Apple laptop running MacOS you can open Safari browser and run a late 1990s classic game like Diablo 🤯.
(Note: the author may have wasted much time on the veracity of this claim 🤣🕹️)
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Steve Jobs? Nope.
Larry Page or Sergey Brin? Nope. (but closer!)
Ten years ago, a fast rising executive at Googlesaw a future where all you would ever need was a web browser run any application anywhere on very low cost computing devices. BTW, the central figure is that same young executive at Google who is now the CEO of Alphabet, Sundar Pichai.
So, if you’ve ever marveled at what is possible “in a web browser” these days then you will want to remember what Sundar Pichai and his team at Google set in motion over a decade ago. But, there’s more to this topic than playing Diablo in a web browser.
When I make my first check 🎶
Let’s look back at the year 2014. Cool references in the video below are many:
Portable Native Client (PNaCl aka pinnacle)
Lots of preamble to a future…
Cool references in this video from 2015 are also many:
and ~8 minutes of Q&A
By 2016, another Web Assembly video appears… and there’s still a space. And again there a few more cool references:
Specific reference to “larger content”
and ~15 minutes of Q&A including two categories of speculative use cases
computationally expensive number crunching (games, media, data)
server side pre-processing of what was previously client side processing
Won't you come on home 🎶
By 2019, there are historical perspective videos available. What’s interesting is how quickly the appetites shifted for what is now a new language of the web.
By 2021, there are State of Union of WebAssembly tracking posts and the speculation continues. There are even “using Wasm” with XYZ on very much not web browsers — such as Envoy proxy use cases within Istio environments.
By 2022, there are more companies donating back to the CNCF as well and strong VC interests in play.
As a result, it is worth keeping an eye on these areas:
Browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and variants
Runtimes: Wasmer, Wasmtime, Node.js, Deno, and don’t forget Bun
So, what will the next big breakout Wasm use casebe in 2023?
Until then… Place your bets!
As a reminder, I work at Taos, an IBM Company. If you’d like to learn more about Taos and how we help shape the future of cloud, check out this video:
I am linking to my disclosure.
Watch: JSConf History