Brandan Eich on WebAssembly, Web Workers, and Decorators

When it comes to the Web's future, JavaScript creator Brendan Eich remains bullish on WebAssembly but also gives a thumbs-up to Service Worker technology.

Speaking at the O'Reilly Fluent conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Eich called WebAssembly the most exciting development he has seen in the past year. The project boosts Web performance by providing a portable code format to run in browsers at native speeds. Major browser vendors Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla all are on board with the effort.

The technology, serving as a binary syntax, started with the asm.js subset of JavaScript. At some point, WebAssembly "becomes the safe native format for the Web," he said, adding it will help bring the Web equal to native applications in performance.

Eich, CEO of Brave Software, also lauded Service Workers technology, which supports bootstrapping of mobile Web applications while offline and are part of Google and Mozilla's Progressive Web Apps plan. The concept of Service Workers is supported in the Extensible Web Manifesto philosophy, and Eich encouraged developers to learn about it.

Eich also backs the Decorators plan by Ember.js creator Yehuda Katz. Decorators is a JavaScript proposal to annotate and modify classes and properties at design time. Additionally, Eich lauded WebGL, which provides a 3D rendering standard for Web development.

During his 20-minute presentation, Eich linked development of Web standards to mobile platforms: "What we're now seeing is the co-evolution of the Web standards with the two dominant smartphone OSes -- Android and iOS."

Microsoft, meanwhile has been "kind of acting like Mozilla," with its venture into open source, Eich reasoned. "They open-sourced Chakra Core, their JavaScript engine, on GitHub." Google's Android, meanwhile, has become Windows, but Apple remains Apple, in Eich's estimation.

When it comes to JSON pioneer Douglas Crockford's Seif project to boost Web security through the use of cryptographic services and trust management, Eich is taking a wait-and-see approach. "It's not probably going to get wide adoption, this Project Seif," said Eich.


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