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Mozilla leads partnership to take WebAssembly beyond the browser

Mozilla office
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Mozilla along with its partners Intel, Red Hat and Fastly have announced the launch of a new open-source group called the Bytecode Alliance which will focus on creating secure new software foundations while building on standards such as WebAssembly and WebAssembly System Interface (WASI).

WebAssembly is an open standard that allows browsers to execute compiled programs directly. This means that developers can write an application in C, C++ and Rust and have it run at native speed within a browser as opposed to using JavaScript, which typically takes longer to execute.

All major browser engines currently support WebAssembly and some companies have even begun to use it in production. However, the barrier to entry still remains high for most developers.

Bytecode Alliance

According to its new website, the mission of the Bytecode Alliance is to establish “a capable, secure platform that allows application developers and service providers to confidently run untrusted code, on any infrastructure, for any operating system or device, leveraging decades of experience doing so inside web browsers”.

As WebAssembly allows untrusted code components to interact with trusted code inside of a sandboxed environment, the open standard has a wide variety of potential use cases outside of the browser and this is why Mozilla and its partners formed the ByteCode Alliance.

The founding members are also contributing code to the new alliance including the Wasmtime, Lucet and WebAssembly Micro Runtime (WAMR) as well as the runtime components Cranelift and Wasi common.

Distinguished engineer at Mozilla and co-creator of WebAssembly, Luke Wagner explained the decision to expand WebAssembly beyond browsers in a blog post, saying:

“WebAssembly is changing the web, but we believe WebAssembly can play an even bigger role in the software ecosystem as it continues to expand beyond browsers. This is a unique moment in time at the dawn of a new technology, where we have the opportunity to fix what’s broken and build new, secure-by-default foundations for native development that are portable and scalable. But we need to take deliberate, cross-industry action to ensure this happens in the right way. Together with our partners in the Bytecode Alliance, Mozilla is building these new secure foundations—for everything from small, embedded devices to large, computing clouds.”

Via TechCrunch