I attend a tech night (geek night) with some friends. One friend was presenting how he made a real-time operating system with Rust for a simple microprocessor. This reminded me that I have been wanting to learn Rust for quite some time.
Web Assembly has been around for a couple years now. I would try and say when, but I just feel kind of lazy. The process of releasing it is kind of not normal. Anyway, ever since its release, I’ve wanted to make a hello world application.
Web Assembly is a low level binary that can be executed through the internet browser. Languages like C and Rust can target Web Assembly binaries in their compilation. This is great, because more computer resource intensive tasks can utilize Web Assembly for performance optimization.
I thought about why I would want to use Web Assembly. As a web developer, I thought it would be valuable to have a skill and to be familiar with Web Assembly from Rust compilation. I chose Rust, because it is a modern LLVM, and I do not want to pick up C considering its age (yes I know it is still really credible). Rust boasts to culimate years of low level programming experience into a great language.
So I learned eventually that I needed to install Emscripten (recently I learned that is not completely necessary anymore thanks to cutting edge Rust). I saw some tutorials of how to install Emscripten and the SDK. At the time, I found that it was probably very long to install (I say probably because I never found out). That scared me, and I stopped trying to install Emscripten. Trying to install Emscripten actually happened a couple times in the past year.
Eventually, I decided to try it again. I first went to download Emscripten from its Github source, but I while trying to activate it I found I had some versioning issues. I looked around for a solution or something different. I saw that the SDK had everything included with it and it fixed the versioning. That scared me again, because I remembered how long the install probably was. I cautiously moved forward with this attempt. Remarkably, I followed the instructions and it went without a hitch this time! This got me excited, and I tried out some simple code to see what I can do.
I found some code and a tutorial .
I added a compilation target with
rustup target add wasm32-unknown-emscripten and I compiled the program with
After a moment of fiddling around, I was actually able to get an output of South and false, which outputs to the internet browser. I was hysterical (no not really) when I finally achieved this. This opened up a whole new (rusty) world (web) for me. I was excited. This would certainly motivate me to dive into the Rust textbook. I want to learn more and become a full level computer programmer. All the way from high level programming to low level(ish) programming.
Rust Node FFI
Since I had learned wasm (Web Assembly), I realized that the equivalent thing can probably be done with Nodejs. There were a couple ways to link Nodejs with Rust. One through the ffi (foreign functions interface) npm library, and the other through Web Assembly again. Having done Web Assembly already, I decided to give ffi a shot. I had some code in a lib.rs, and the Cargo.toml had a crate-type specifier (I’m not sure on terminology at the moment).
After some more fiddling around, I eventually got the two functions I had in Rust to get invoked from the Nodejs runtime.
Now I was super excited. I wondered what I could do. I thought it possble to make an image processor progressive web application. But then I imagine making an offline progressive web application that has a wasm module had some extra details that I may not know of. I saw something over at MDN that could help. There are a lot of possibilities now! I better start learning some Rust!
WASM demo Github repository Learning rust repository