WebAssembly Users a Mix of Backend and Full Stack Developers
Colin Eberhardt, the editor of WASM Weekly, surveyed 297 people in June 2022, of which almost half (49%) had at least three years of experience working with WASM. Overall, those with little experience were not that different from everyone else, which indicates that there is an opportunity to change opinions in the market.
One area where experience matters is existing use cases. Web development continues to be the most common way WASM is used, cited by 72% of respondents. Half as many people cited serverless, with containerization and plug-in environments rounding out the top four.
Compared to 2021, audio/video processing and game development dropped significantly as targets for WebAssembly. Compared to the study average, twice as many respondents with 5+ years of WASM experience have game development use cases (21% vs 10%). With an active “awesome list”, this niche will probably not disappear.
Job role is a key determinant in how WASM is used.
- A fifth of the study were backend developers and they clearly were focused on the cloud native world. 54% of the backend developers have serverless WASM use cases, and 42% deploy it as a plug-in environment.
- In contrast, full stack developers, representing 47% of the survey, overwhelmingly focus on web development (80%).
When asked about WebAssembly's future, there is general agreement that debugging, integration and tooling can be improved, but respondents differentiated between what is "really needed" and just "needed."
Language Use and Plans
Overall, 56% of WebAssembly developers expressed a strong desire to use Rust with WebAssembly in the future. Backend developers and those focused on serverless are particularly keen on using Rust. They are also more than twice as likely as the average WebAssembly developer to really want to use Go or TinyGo.
Notably, 47% of respondents that consider WebAssembly to be a "black box" plan to use Blazor/C# a lot. Right now, 49% of them have used the language with WebAssembly previously but only 39% have experience with Rust! This appears to be one of the few areas where Rust is not displaying dominance.