WebAssembly for .NET
A library able to create, read, modify, write and execute WebAssembly (WASM) files from .NET-based applications. Execution does not use an interpreter. WASM instructions are mapped to their .NET equivalents and converted to native machine language by the .NET JIT compiler.
A preview is available via NuGet at https://www.nuget.org/packages/WebAssembly . No further updates to the preview are planned; the next release will be 1.0 with full support for the WebAssembly "MVP".
The API is unstable--this means the names and structure of everything can change--but the most complete feature right now is
- Read and write WASM binary files via
- Create a new WASM binary file from scratch: create a new
WebAssembly.Moduleinstance and start adding things.
WebAssembly.Modulereflects the binary format in a very pure form: nearly anything that can be found in a valid WASM file is covered. As the binary format is optimized for size efficiency, it can be difficult to use, particularly concepts like index space and labels. The best resource for understanding how things work is the test code, in this repository under WebAssembly.Tests.
WebAssembly.Compileconverts WebAssembly binary files (WASM) to .NET via the run-time code generation features in System.Reflection.Emit. As it ultimately runs on the same CLR as C#, performance is equivalent.
- Post-"MVP" features of WebAssembly (garbage collection, threads, SIMD, etc) will be added after the 1.0 release of this library.
- The current development focus is implementing the remaining instructions.
- 100% of instructions can be parsed by
WebAssemnbly.Module.ReadFromBinaryand written back out.
- 97% of instructions can be compiled.
- Over 200 code tests provide strong quality assurance. Following traditional test-driven development practices, the tests are written first and then the library is updated to pass the test.
Everything on this list will be fixed before 1.0 is published.
- 4 instructions are not supported by the compiler:
blockinstructions that yield a value are not supported by the compiler.
retinstructions that leave leftover values on the stack will cause the .NET CLR to report an InvalidProgramException.
- The following section types are not supported by the compiler: Custom, Start, Data.
- The following export types are not supported by the compiler: Table, Global.
- The following import types are not supported: Global, Memory, Table.
- Offsets reported in exceptions are mostly wrong, reflecting the position of the reader at the time of the exception rather than the start of the bad bytes.
WebAssembly.Modulewill let you write WASM files that it can't read back: specifically, a function or initializer expression that's not terminated with an
- Function exports that expose an import are not supported by the compiler.
- Passing a MethodBuilder as an imported function will cause the compiler to generate incorrect code.
- Thorough documentation is needed.
Feedback on these (via GitHub issue) is welcome. The API will be frozen with the 1.0 release.
- Some WebAssembly class names collide with entries in System (
ValueType). This probably won't be changed because this is why we have namespaces, and these names are appropriate for WebAssembly.
WebAssembly.Instructionsnamespace has a high number of classes--nearly 200, one per instruction plus some helper base classes. Additional namespaces will be created for new post-"MVP" WebAssembly instructions.
- Can't directly compile a loaded
WebAssembly.Moduleinstance. This is intentional because the compiler is designed for streaming raw binary, but it might be convenient for some use cases.
- Instruction names in the library have little resemblance to their native name.
This is partially forced by the names themselves, which include characters like
.that are not legal in C#. The other reason is to conform with .NET Framework Design Guidelines, which discourage the use of acronyms and abbreviations.
- Consistent with the native encoding of WebAssembly, most integers are unsigned. This can make interaction with .NET Framework classes less convenient, as they mostly use signed integers even for values that are never negative, such as the count of entries in a list.
Importclass has specific types as nested classes, which can be awkward to use.
Importclass used by the parser can easily be confused with the
RuntimeImportclass used by the compiler.
Potential Future Features
These features are under consideration for development after all the core work is done.
- Use the known custom section "name" to provide human-readable names to the generated functions. Since this section is required to be at the end of the file by the WebAssembly standard, its use will be disabled by default for more efficient streaming compilation.
- ☣ Option to remove remove range check on linear memory access, for confident users desiring maximum performance.
🤔Add support for automatic implementation of interfaces as an alternative to existing abstract class code. 🚀Extensible optimization framework. 🛑Save compiled-to-.NET assemblies to files; blocked on .NET Core by https://github.com/dotnet/corefx/issues/4491, but should be possible with .NET "Classic".