3 min read

WebAssembly is changing the way we use develop applications for the web. Graphics heavy applications, browser based games, and interactive data visualizations seem to have found a better way to our UI – the WebAssembly way. The latest Blazor 0.6 experimental release from Microsoft is an indication that Microsoft has identified WebAssembly as one of the upcoming trends and extended support to their bevy of developers.

Blazor is an experimental web UI framework based on C#, Razor, and HTML that runs in the browser via WebAssembly. Blazor promises to greatly simplify the task of building, fast and beautiful single-page applications that run in any browser. The following image shows the architecture of Blazor.

Source: MSDN

Blazor has its own JavaScript format – Blazor.js. It uses mono, an open source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Framework based on the ECMA standards for C# and the Common Language Runtime (CLR). It also uses Razor, a template engine that combines C# with HTML to create dynamic web content. Together, Blazor is promising to create dynamic and fast web apps without using the popular JavaScript frontend frameworks. This reduces the learning curve requirement for the existing C# developers.

Microsoft has released the 0.6 experimental version of Blazor on October 2nd. This release includes new features for authoring templated components and enables using server-side Blazor with the Azure SignalR Service. Another important news from this release is that the server side Blazor model will be included as Razor components in the .Net core 3.0 release.

The major highlights of this release are:

  • Templated components
    • Define components with one or more template parameters
    • Specify template arguments using child elements
    • Generic typed components with type inference
    • Razor templates
  • Refactored server-side Blazor startup code to support the Azure SignalR Service

Now the important question is how is this release going to fuel the growth of WebAssembly based web development?

The answer is that probably it will take some time for WebAssembly to become mainstream because this is just the alpha release which means that there will be plenty of changes before the final release comes. But why Blazor is the right step ahead can be explained by the fact that unlike former Microsoft platforms like Silverlight, it does not have its own rendering engine. Hence pixel rendering in the browser is not its responsibility. That’s what makes it lightweight. Blazor uses the browser’s DOM to display data. However, the C# code running in WebAssembly cannot access the DOM directly. It has to go through JavaScript. The process looks like this presently.

Source: Learn Blazor

The way this process happens, might change with the beta and subsequent releases of Blazor. Just so that the intermediate JavaScript layer can be avoided. But that’s what WebAssembly is at present. It is a bridge between your code and the browser – which evidently runs on JavaScript. Blazor can prove to be a very good supportive tool to fuel the growth of WebAssembly based apps.

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