Bytecode Alliance focuses on WebAssembly outside the browser

Mozilla and partners will collaborate on secure foundations for WebAssembly runtimes and language tooling

Industry alliance focuses on WebAssembly outside the browser
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The future of WebAssembly outside the browser is the focus of newly formed industry group that will collaborate on implementing standards and propose new ones for the open source portable bytecode format.

The partnership, called Bytecode Alliance, was founded by Mozilla, Red Hat, Intel, and Fastly. WebAssembly is a binary format, originally designed to run in the browser, that promises near-native performance of web applications, along with the ability to use languages other than JavaScript to develop those apps.

WebAssembly provides isolation for running untrusted code, and each WebAssembly module is sandboxed by default. Bytecode Alliance wants to extend that security to make it safe to use untrusted code on any platform, whether it is on a server in the cloud, on a desktop computer, or in an IoT device. 

The Bytecode Alliance’s vision also involves replacing microservices with container-like “nanoprocesses,” providing the composability of microservices without the weight, along with language interoperability. Nanoprocesses enable the development of massively modular applications.

Collaborations among the Bytecode Alliance members involve several projects:

  • Runtimes including Wasmtime, which is a stand-alone WebAssembly runtime that can be used in a CLI tool or embedded into other systems. Another runtime the group is collaborating on is Lucet, a runtime for CDNs, which is being reconfigured to work with Wasmtime. Also on the docket is the WebAssemby Micro Runtime for embedded devices with limited resources.
  • Runtime components including Cranelift, which is a code generator optimized for machine code, and WASI common, a stand-alone implementation of the WebAssembly System Interface that runtimes can use.
  • Language tools including cargo-wasi, a lightweight Cargo subcommand that compiles Rust code to target WebAssembly and the WebAssembly System Interface for use outside the browser. Also featured are wat and wasmparser, which parse WebAssembly.

The Bytecode Alliance is welcoming contributions and industry participation. Interested parties can contact the organization at hello@bytecodealliance.org.