The Ways Web Assembly Will Transform Internet Health

A healthy Internet fosters collaboration and innovations that benefit all users. That’s why Mozilla has collaborated on the development of Web Assembly, and included it in the latest Firefox release.

What is Web Assembly?

WebAssembly is an emerging web standard that enables applications to run securely in browsers without the use of plug-ins. It is a new web language that can transform the way we use our devices and the web. It’s a tool that can radically improve the Internet, by making applications more accessible to people all over the world.

It paves the way for high performance apps to run on the web. WebAssembly also has the potential to improve existing services such as email, social networks, and word processing.

Why this matters

If you’re thinking, “How does this affect me? I have apps on my Android and iOS device that can do just about anything,” you’re right, but they can’t run in your web browser. Or think of that time you had to install a plug-in to watch a movie on an airplane. WebAssembly levels the playing field for web applications by allowing them to run in your browser without a plug-in.

Instead of having to load an individual app or program in your laptop, you can type in a URL and have a better quality experience. To start, you won’t be limited by the free space on your phone, tablet, or desktop, putting a wider selection of app-like experiences at your fingertips. And since the code runs completely inside your browser, it’s faster than HTML and JavaScript, the current standards most web pages are built on.

WebAssembly in gaming

If you’re a web developer, this is big news. This means you can now publish games on the web with just a link. Cutting out the application store middleman is a major win for developers and the decentralization movement.

For gamers, you can now play your favorite games, right in your browser. Major names like Epic and Unity are already using and seeing the benefits from WebAssembly. Video games are some of the most taxing programs, so if it can work there, it can work anywhere.

WebAssembly in the creative world

Programs like Photoshop, AutoCAD, as well as audio and film editing software, now have the potential to be web-based. You can even start a project on one machine and finish it on another.  With WebAssembly, you don’t need to install additional software to run applications.

WebAssembly in emerging markets

According to estimates, there are 3.5 billion Internet users around the world, many of them in emerging markets such as India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, China — locales where unlimited monthly data plans are expensive. Inexpensive mobile devices also don’t come with much onboard storage, limiting the amount of space for apps.

Most app stores also require email addresses and credit cards, a big barrier that can prevent newcomers from experiencing the full potential of the Internet.

Because of this open source innovation by Mozilla, people now have access to powerful tools right in their browser. WebAssembly delivers a safe and secure platform for web browsing, fuels innovation, and allows users around the world to experience the Internet in ways never before seen.

Learn More

To learn more about WebAssembly, check out this introductory blog post.  You can also read a series of blog posts by Lin Clark that explain it through cartoons.

At Mozilla, we’re improving Internet health by promoting initiatives that deliver a better experience for users all over the world.

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