Web apps and pages may soon get a speed boost to rival the performance of native desktop and mobile applications, thanks to a new standards initiative from Microsoft, Google and Mozilla.
The work, WebAssembly, provides a way to compile the source code for the programmatic parts of Web applications so they can be processed by the browser more quickly.
"I think this is a good evolution trajectory of the Web platform to try and reach the performance ... of native languages on mobile devices," wrote IDC software development analyst Al Hilwa, in an e-mail. "I think it is early days but the Web platform is moving faster than ever these days and so everyone is paying more attention to these developments."
The technology could also facilitate a wide range of applications heretofore have been extremely difficult to run on the Web, such as rich online games, video editing and emulation of full desktop applications.
WebAssembly development is taking place as a community group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the standards body for the Web. The initial work was done privately by Google, Microsoft and Mozilla in a private effort to reach consensus on the basic outline of the technology. The development team has since moved the codebase to an open GitHub repository.