April 06, 2023

Highlights from Wasm I/O 2023

Matt Butcher

conference Wasm IO

Highlights from Wasm I/O 2023

Here at Fermyon, we had been looking forward to March since we first heard about a new conference. To be held in Barcelona, Spain, the inaugural Wasm I/O conference would bring together a broad base of WebAssembly developers.

Our expectations were high. And rightly so. Wasm I/O 2023 was fantastic.

The event opened with a musical collaboration between a violinist and a drummer. It’s hard to escape the symbolism, as the WebAssembly ecosystem is diverse, yet the technology itself brings together unlikely collaborations.

In “The Return of Write Once, Run Anywhere,” Tyler McMullen, the CTO of Fastly, painted a compelling picture of WebAssembly’s promise not just in the cloud world, but as a foundation for a next wave of development. We have talked on this blog about how exciting the component model is, but Tyler’s presentation rightly pointed out how formative this technology is for WebAssembly’s future. Dan Gohman, also of Fastly, took a deeper dive into these concepts on the second day when he articulated the progress on WebAssembly System Interface (WASI). And representing WASI’s newest proposal, Bailey Hayes and Dan Chiarlone discussed WASI-Cloud.

So Many Languages!

If there was one big theme at Wasm I/O, it was programming language support.

Since its inception, we have all known that the success of WebAssembly depended not on the spec itself, but on the efforts of dozens of programming language communities. For WebAssembly to succeed, many programming languages must support the standard. From system languages like C and Rust to scripting languages like Python, and on into the hybrid bytecode languages like .NET and Java, a boatload of work was required across many different teams. Yet the work is happening!

Sébastien Deleuze and Zalim Bashorov talked about Kotlin support. Jeff Charles talked about JavaScript. Kevin Moore covered Dart, Oscar Spencer showed off Grain, and Edoardo Vacchi talked Java. The WasmLabs folks at VMware, Rafael Fernandez and Asen Alexandrov, took the prize for most languages in one talk as they showcased their efforts to package WebAssembly implementations of Ruby, Python, and PHP (all top-twenty programming languages).

We do our best to track the latest status of WebAssembly for the top programming languages.

Spinning Stories at Wasm I/O

As a startup company, nothing is more exciting (and motivating!) than seeing the innovative ways others have used our tools to create something awesome. P J Laszkowicz’s talk entitled “From Event-Driven to Automotive” highlighted a few production use-cases for Spin, and Thorsten Hans’ “Spin it!” talk distilled Thorsten’s architecture-first Spin knowledge into an excellent 30 minute talk. These two talks have been inspiring for me.

Piotr Sarna showed off ChiselStrike’s new libSQL library and talked about using it with Spin. And Djordje Lukic from Docker walked through Docker Desktop’s support for Spin and other WebAssembly runtimes.

Fermyon folks made a few appearances as well. Kate Goldenring sat on a panel about the difference between containers and WebAssembly — and how these two technologies will thrive together. Ivan Towlson coded a Spin trigger to react to non-HTTP events. And Radu Matei gave a brief introduction to Spin 1.0. Apparently my Spin birthday party hat made a cameo in several presentations, Mystery Science Theater 3k-style.

Check out the full YouTube Playlist for Wasm I/O 2023.

Even as I wrap up this post, I feel like I have not done the event justice. There were so many excellent talks, and on such a broad range of topics, that I could write pages and pages more. But perhaps the best conclusion is the simplest: regardless of what your WebAssembly interests are, Wasm I/O is the conference to attend.

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