Welcome to WASI!
WASI stands for WebAssembly System Interface. It's an API designed by the Wasmtime project that provides access to several operating-system-like features, including files and filesystems, Berkeley sockets, clocks, and random numbers, that we'll be proposing for standardization.
It's designed to be independent of browsers, so it doesn't depend on Web APIs or JS, and isn't limited by the need to be compatible with JS. And it has integrated capability-based security, so it extends WebAssembly's characteristic sandboxing to include I/O.
Note that everything here is a prototype, and while a lot of stuff works, there are numerous missing features and some rough edges. For example, networking support is incomplete.
How can I write programs that use WASI?
The two toolchains that currently work well are the Rust toolchain and a specially packaged C and C++ toolchain. Of course, we hope other toolchains will be able to implement WASI as well!
To install a WASI-enabled Rust toolchain:
rustup target add wasm32-wasi --toolchain nightly cargo +nightly build --target wasm32-wasi
Until now, Rust's WebAssembly support has had two main options, the
Emscripten-based option, and the wasm32-unknown-unknown option. The latter
option is lighter-weight, but only supports
no_std. WASI enables a new
wasm32-wasi target, which is similar to wasm32-unknown-unknown in
that it doesn't depend on Emscripten, but it can use WASI to provide a
decent subset of libstd.
All the parts needed to support wasm are included in upstream clang, lld, and compiler-rt, as of the LLVM 8.0 release. However, to use it, you'll need to build WebAssembly-targeted versions of the library parts, and it can be tricky to get all the CMake invocations lined up properly.
To make things easier, we provide prebuilt packages that provide builds of Clang and sysroot libraries.
WASI doesn't yet support
longjmp or C++ exceptions, as it is
waiting for unwinding support in WebAssembly.
Some C++ programs, particularly those using
<iostream>, may see warnings
about function signature mismatches; this is a
How can I run programs that use WASI?
Wasmtime is a non-Web WebAssembly engine which is part of the
CraneStation project. To build
it, download the code and build with
cargo build --release. It can
run WASI-using wasm programs by simply running
cargo run --bin wasmtime foo.wasm.
The browser polyfill
The polyfill is online here.
The source is here.