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Wasmer Plugin


This crate is designed to ease the development of plugins that will be run as web assembly modules via wasmer.

The components here include a proc_macro attribute and a few helper functions to ease the serialization/deserialization of data structures in wasm memory.


Let's first cover all of the steps that would need to happen to allow this.

  1. Set up (parent scope)
    1. Instantiate the Wasm Module
    2. Provide a shared data structure to start with
    3. Serialize the shared data
    4. Insert serialized data into Wasm Shared Memory
    5. Execute exported function
  2. Plug In (plugin scope)
    1. Deserialize shared data
    2. Manipulate shared data
    3. Serialize shared data
    4. Insert new length of data into known memory location
    5. Return pointer to start of new data
  3. Repeat (parent scope)
    1. Extract shared data from wasm memory
    2. Deserialize shared data
    3. Move on to the next plugin?

Of all of the steps above, a plugin developer really should have to think about 2.2 -- All of the other steps should be handled by the parent process.


wasmer-plugin utilizes bincode to pass data structures from the parent scope into the wasm scope and vice versa.

First, we need to import the contents of this crate by putting use wasmer_plugin::* at the top of the file which will make 3 things available.

  1. The attribute #[wasmer_plugin]
  2. The function convert_slice<'a, T>(&[u8]) -> impl Deserialize<'a> (used by the attribute)
  3. The function convert_ret<T>(T: impl Serialize) -> Vec<u8> (used by the attribute)

The Attribute

When a plugin developer marks a function with the attribute #[wasmer_plugin], it will add a public wrapper function that will take care of the messy memory bits or transitioning from one scope to another.

The Functions

Those two function are essentially just a way to guarantee that bincode's serialize and deserialize implementations are going to be available for the attribute.


  • Currently this is only setup to handle a plugin that will take one argument and return one argument.
  • The scheme used to move data around is not very efficient from a space (or probably speed) perspective


In the ./examples folder there is a file called that includes an example of what a plugin might look like. It has a companion file that includes the result of running cargo +nightly expand --example simple --target wasm32-unknown-unknown.

note, these files are not traditional rust examples so running cargo build --example simple will fail.


A Proc Macro for interacting with wasmer




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