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Just to inject another viewpoint into this -

I don't care that asm.js is backward compatible with JavaScript. If my program uses an appreciable fraction of the available CPU an it has to act real time in some fashion (anywhere from 60fps for a game to simply acting responsive in a GUI app), execution several times slower by a standard JS VM is no better than no execution. If I want to be cross-platform in the hopefully near future where asm.js is not widely supported, I would pick Chrome and Firefox to support for now and use a NaCl plugin for the former. From this perspective, a "true" bytecode VM would be no worse - and it would hardly be boiling the ocean, since the size of code required to parse a simple bytecode is negligible. (If you want to compile it efficiently, either you bring in all of LLVM or modify your JS engine, which is hardly negligible, but asm.js is the same in that regard. The only difference is parsing.)

But I think it's nice that the "bytecode" is human readable and pretty much writable. It will be better to use a (possibly lightweight) too to compile to asm.js, but it's nice that small kernels can just be written without a compiler.




> execution several times slower by a standard JS VM is no better than no execution

Having worked in games for a while I disagree. From a user perspective, I've found that when games don't work at all players often feel the developer is too blame, while if it runs but just unplayable slow they are much more open to blame the system they play it on.

And let's be honest, if this is important for any sort of app, games are indeed one of them.

Additionally, I'd much rather all my features work, but have to scale back on visual effects, rather than have to write both a high-performance, and a low-performance version, and still be required to scale back effects.

From my perspective in game development the asm.js approach seems to be a significant win.


> Having worked in games for a while I disagree. From a user perspective, I've found that when games don't work at all players often feel the developer is too blame, while if it runs but just unplayable slow they are much more open to blame the system they play it on.

Steam comments on their forums seem to blame developers regardless from just my history of reading them. There might be more arguments about who is to blame (when there's some it runs fine for), but plenty still blame the developer when it runs slow and their system should be able to run it (such as in claims x similar game runs so y should [even if it's not apples and oranges, but users think so anyways]).




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