Microsoft, Google, Apple & Mozilla Team Up To Make A Much Faster Web

A joined effort by the world’s largest web-browser companies (Microsoft, Google, Apple & Mozilla) will make the Web up to 20 faster than it is today.

Updated Sep 19, 2016News

If you needed a proof that the World Wide Web (WWW) isn’t slowing down lately, but rather, gains even more momentum, then this is probably what you were looking for.

It’s called WebAssembly (or wasm in short) and what it is is basically a new, “lower-level” programming language that’s targeted specifically for the Web and may, in the future, replace the widely used Javascript language.

Typically, such type of language (lower-level) is mainly geared towards readability by machines and yields a very fast performance overall.

However, the fact that lower-level languages being faster isn’t something that developers discovered only recently, then why is it only coming to use just now?

Why Now?

The reason may apparently stem from the following:

A side effect of lower-level languages being more geared towards machines is that they also tend to be less human friendly, i.e. harder for developers to code.

For the non programmer readers among you to understand why lower-level code is less appealing for developers –

just imagine how hard would it be for you to write a meaningful letter to a friend of yours using only 2 letters – that’s kind of what writing in lower level language feels like.

Hence why it wasn’t the first choice preferable by developers when initially the name of the game in browser wars was – which has the most features.

However on the other hand, back to our example – using only 2 letters also means there are less options to take into account and thus the performance is much faster.

Now that web-browsers have reached a stable point where all offer more or less the same features, it is high time for them to concentrate on better performance.

Granted, the combined effort by the aforementioned browser creators has already led to impressive (though experimental) results, showing about 23 times faster performance gains.

When Will You Feel The Change?

Since the Web is a very fragmented place, it might take a while for it to adopt and adapt to the new technology.

Until that’ll happen, the engineers behind wasm are working on a backwards layer (Polyfill) that will convert wasm to another language for those browsers that don’t have native wasm support.

The performance of using that Polyfill would still be better than current, non-wasm performance yet it’ll be even better with browsers using wasm natively.

Since wasm itself is still in early stages of development, you should expect it’ll take months, perhaps even years until we see it action.

Nevertheless, backed by the major companies that it is, its future looks bright and promising.