A world to win: WebAssembly for the rest of us

Andy Wingo

Playlists: 'bobkonf2023' videos starting here / audio

WebAssembly has been around for a while, but until now it has been of limited utility for high-level languages, especially those that use garbage collection. Things are about to change, though, as web browsers are about to ship support for managed memory, making WebAssembly a viable target for Scheme, OCaml, and in general everyone who is not C++ or Rust. This talk will recap why it is that the 1.0 version of WebAssembly wasn’t a great target for e.g. Scheme, what the workarounds were, what the new facilities are, how implementations will be able to take advantage of them, and what limitations remain. In 2-3 years it’s reasonable to expect that WebAssembly will be an excellent compilation target and language run-time substrate for many of our dearest languages, but it’s up to us to make it there.