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Fastly and partners form WebAssembly-based, open-source community Bytecode Alliance

By  Tyler McMullen, CTO, November 12, 2019 in Industry insights

The platforms on which we develop software are more diverse today than ever before. That might seem somewhat surprising, but consider the wide variety of operating systems, processors, and APIs that exist across servers, desktops, laptops, phones, and embedded devices. We face an uphill battle when it comes to finding ways to write software that can run efficiently and securely on all of these platforms.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Mozilla, Intel, and Red Hat to form the Bytecode Alliance, an open-source community working together on WebAssembly-based compiler tools and foundations that work across many platforms. Together, we’re developing tools and standards that will help the developer community run code on clients, servers, and the edge, minimizing rework and maximizing reach. 

The Bytecode Alliance’s mission is to bring stronger, more widely accessible software development standards to the world. WebAssembly programs carry stronger security guarantees than native code and have gained popularity among organizations that value secure, performant, cross-platform and cross-device runtime. Plus, they’re designed to allow developers to use any programming language they prefer. 

Through the collaborative contributions of technologies leveraging WebAssembly, the Bytecode Alliance will deliver a state-of-the-art multi-language runtime environment where security, efficiency, and modularity can all coexist across the widest possible range of devices and architectures.

Here at Fastly, we’re contributing Lucet, an ahead-of-time compiler and runtime for WebAssembly & WASI focused on low-latency, high-concurrency applications. Notably, Lucet also lays the foundation for Fastly’s just-launched Compute@Edge beta, our new language-agnostic compute environment. Fellow founding members are making several open source project contributions to the Bytecode Alliance as well, including:

  • Wasmtime, a small and efficient runtime for WebAssembly & WASI;

  • WebAssembly Micro Runtime (WAMR), an interpreter-based WebAssembly runtime for embedded devices; and

  • Cranelift, a cross-platform code generator with a focus on security and performance, written in Rust.

We and the other Bytecode Alliance partners are looking forward to bringing more organizations into the fold and integrating the various contributed projects into a fully functional, cohesive environment. Want to get involved? Learn more about Bytecode Alliance now.

Author

Tyler McMullen | CTO

Tyler McMullen is CTO at Fastly, where he’s responsible for the system architecture and leads the company’s technology vision. As part of the founding team, Tyler built the first versions of Fastly’s Instant Purging system, API, and Real-time Analytics. A self-described technology curmudgeon, he has experience in everything from web design to kernel development, and loathes all of it. Especially distributed systems.

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