Rust on the Frontend and Backend

Backend languages in the browser have been a thing for a long time. Google Web Toolkit would compile Java applications into JavaScript, and I believe (though I may be misremembering this1) that .NET had a feature where you could essentially code as if you were writing a form application in C# and it would compile to a web form and wire up JavaScript, HTML and CSS so you never had to learn anything about web technologies.

Things changed in a couple ways when Mozilla created asm.js (leading later to WebAssembly). Along with Emscripten, you could now compile C and C++ into a subset of JavaScript that executed very efficiently and provided the kind of linear memory model that C backends expect. Generated JavaScript can have pretty bad performance characteristics, so being able to take advantage of decades of research in optimizing compilers for C and C++ in the browser was a big step forward.

Rust uses LLVM, which Emscripten compiles into WebAssembly, so pretty early after the creation of WebAssembly, people were porting Rust to work in the browser. And very shortly after that, there were Rust frontend frameworks…

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