While the above article alludes to the many uses of WebAssembly in the cloud, this article takes a deep-dive. First, it looks at what makes this runtime so appealing, followed by a number of different cloud-computing examples.
Minor point - it is great to see people getting so excited about WebAssembly as a cloud computing runtime. I share that excitement. However, WebAssembly doesn’t belong in the cloud. It belongs in the browser, the cloud and on IOT devices. It belongs everywhere.
Disney have enjoyed considerable success with Disney+, their direct-to-consumer streaming product, most likely having benefited from COVID. Similar to Netflix and other streaming providers, there is considerable demand from partners who want to embed Disney+ into their own set-top boxes and other hardware. Tackling this is a considerable challenge, “… we’d need to build an incredibly portable runtime that would run on everything from 10+ year old MIPS based devices to modern x64 processors and GPUs.” WebAssembly was key to the solution.
The Application Developer Kit (ADK), contains a WebAssembly runtime, that hosts the client application, which is written in Rust and compiled to WebAssembly. This results in a platform-independent client application, which is downloaded from the internet, allowing for rapid deployment of application updates.
Time for a flashy demo - this time, a Rust, WebAssembly and WebGL fluid simulation. You can find the sourcecode on GitHub.
On the subject of Flash-y …
Yes, we do have a growing problem with digital content that we can no-longer realistically access because the hardware or software ‘player’ has reached end-of-life. However, I think it is a bit harsh to ‘blame Flash’. This is a fact of life for technology. Anyhow, on a more positive note, this article does mention Ruffle, a Rust / WebAssembly re-implementation of Flash.