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The Linux Foundation has announced a new online course designed to help developers learn to use WebAssembly modules “from the cloud to the edge,” and it’s currently free for anyone who wants to sign up.

WebAssembly is described by the Linux Foundation as “a stack-based virtual machine that can greatly improve the performance and capabilities of websites,” but the foundation also notes that it can be used for a variety of non-web purposes as well.

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Modules in WebAssembly are containerized binary apps traditionally used to make websites run more smoothly. Since late 2019, WebAssembly has been a World Wide Web Consortium standard for web pages alongside HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Because so much of modern computing life is driven by apps and microservices, and because of the central positioning of WebAssembly, the Linux Foundation predicts that its adoption will continue to accelerate, making it an important tool for developers and engineers to be familiar with.

As mentioned above, WebAssembly has uses outside of streamlining webpages. The Linux Foundation said it’s currently being used in cloud, mobile, low-level networking and edge-based environments, so interested developers can expect the course to cover far more than just building web apps.

The course contains “six to eight” hours of instruction on “how to leverage a number of open source frameworks to create distributed and seamlessly connected actors that can be deployed in a browser, on a laptop, in the cloud, on a Raspberry Pi, or practically anywhere,” the Linux Foundation said.

Particular topics covered in the course include:

  • Using Rust to create and host WebAssembly modules,
  • Learning about the JavaScript WebAssembly API for browsers, as well as non-web host runtimes for WebAssembly,
  • Becoming familiar with the actor model,
  • Using open-source projects to build distributed cloud-native applications that use WebAssembly modules,
  • Differences between base WebAssembly and community-build elements,
  • Understanding how WebAssembly-based applications work.

The course itself describes its goal as preparing developers “to build portable, secure, lightweight WebAssembly modules that thrive in the cloud, at the edge, and anywhere in between,” and is described as being particularly aimed at devs building microservices that have had difficulties adapting to cloud-native app development.

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WebAssembly Actors: From Cloud to Edge is being taught by WebAssembly expert and author Kevin Hoffman, and those interested shouldn’t delay signing up: The course is free to audit for seven weeks, but after that it’ll cost $149 for the certificate-granting version (no certificate is given for free enrollees).