Subject: Call for support for lisp in the WebAssembly development.
Date: Thursday 4th February 2016 02:42:18 UTC (about 1 year ago)
A new code deployment standard is being developed for the web, named WebAssembly. There is a W3C Community Group that people can join at https://www.w3.org/community/webassembly/ and development at https://github.com/WebAssembly This work is an evolution of the JS asm.js standard now well supported on the web. I have been working to try and have the needs of lisp taken into account, firstly via asm.js and patches across web browsers but this met with resistance and the web browser vendors jointed to create the WebAssembly project. I have also been working to have the needs of lisp considered in the WebAssembly standard but have met resistance there too. Although WebAssembly is a low level language I do believe that some small changes here and there could help better support lisp. For example, asm.js and WebAssembly have a sandboxed linear memory. This requires bounds checking and/or memory protection schemes. One option for lowering lisp code is to mask memory access indexes, and this mask could both prove to the runtime that the index is within bounds, and mask off tag bits. I've been able to demonstrate that this is often a good win for C translated code too - quicker to mask than bounds check, even set up a site with benchmarks at http://www.jsstats.com/ This masking strategy would in turn require a power-of-two related memory size, and there has been a lot of resistance to this too. I have also had to fork out the development of a source code language for the deployed code because the core WebAssembly team would not support this. This seems practical and I have started the https://github.com/wllang/ project which has some initial tools for importing and exporting the WebAssembly formats. Add some meta information for source code comments and formatting and code patterns such as a 'cons' allocation and 'car' and 'cdr' accesses and this could start to look like a primitive lisp. You can see the difficult in issues such as the following https://github.com/WebAssembly/spec/pull/215 'Wasm is a low-level language. There can't be any expectation that it can represent every convenience feature from a chosen high-level language 1-to-1.' I am just trying to have the AST binary encoding be more efficient at representing code patterns that discard excess values, not for wasm to adopt CL argument passing and expression values. When the CL compiler can prove that there are fixed return values it should be able to lower to efficient wasm code. There seems to be an opportunity here. Some chance to see better support for lisp on the web, but the opportunity is brief. I have been trying very hard but some support from other people in the lisp community seems necessary. Regards Douglas Crosher ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Site24x7 APM Insight: Get Deep Visibility into Application Performance APM + Mobile APM + RUM: Monitor 3 App instances at just $35/Month Monitor end-to-end web transactions and take corrective actions now Troubleshoot faster and improve end-user experience. Signup Now! http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/clk?id=272487151&iu=/4140