WebAssembly in Action

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Friday, January 22, 2021

WebAssembly threads arriving on Android devices

WebAssembly threads arrive on Android devices! Chrome for Android (version 88) was released with the SharedArrayBuffer enabled which means you can now use WebAssembly threads on your Android phones and tablets!
This week, Chrome for Android (version 88) was released and will become available on Google Play over the next few weeks. With this release, the SharedArrayBuffer has been re-enabled which means you'll be able to use WebAssembly threads on your Android phones and tablets!


To enable the SharedArrayBuffer, you need to specify the Cross-Origin-Opener-Policy (COOP) and Cross-Origin-Embedder-Policy (COEP) response headers. Because of the COEP response header, if you include resources from another domain that you trust, you'll need to include the crossorigin attribute with those links.

In July, I wrote an article that walks you through returning the response headers, using the crossorigin attribute, and using WebAssembly threads to convert a user-supplied image to greyscale. You can find my article here: https://cggallant.blogspot.com/2020/07/webassembly-threads-in-firefox.html

Although the article talks about Firefox because it was the first browser to require the new response headers, the content of the article applies to Chrome for Android too.

The response headers will be needed for use with Chrome desktop in the near future (version 91). Safari will require them as well so it's a good idea to update your server response headers with these values if you currently use, or plan to use, the SharedArrayBuffer.

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