Powering The Next Generation Of Application Architectures With Web Assembly And The Fermyon Platform


July 24th, 2022

1 hr 10 mins 39 secs

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About this Episode


Application architectures have been in a constant state of evolution as new infrastructure capabilities are introduced. Virtualization, cloud, containers, mobile, and now web assembly have each introduced new options for how to build and deploy software. Recognizing the transformative potential of web assembly, Matt Butcher and his team at Fermyon are investing in tooling and services to improve the developer experience. In this episode he explains the opportunity that web assembly offers to all language communities, what they are building to power lightweight server-side microservices, and how Python developers can get started building and contributing to this nascent ecosystem.


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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Matt Butcher about Fermyon and the impact of WebAssembly on software architecture and deployment across language boundaries


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • For anyone who isn’t familiar with WebAssembly can you give your elevator pitch for why it matters?
  • What is the current state of language support for Python in the WASM ecosystem?
  • Can you describe what Fermyon is and the story behind it?
  • What are your goals with Fermyon and what are the products that you are building to support those goals?
  • There has been a steady progression of technologies aimed at better ways to build, deploy, and manage software (e.g. virtualization, cloud, containers, etc.). What are the problems with the previous options and how does WASM address them?
  • What are some examples of the types of applications/services that work well in a WASM environment?
  • Can you describe how you have architected the Fermyon platform?
    • How did you approach the design of the interfaces and tooling to support developer ergonomics?
    • How have the design and goals of the platform changed or evolved since you started working on it?
  • Can you describe what a typical workflow is for an application team that is using Spin/Fermyon to build and deploy a service?
  • What are some of the architectural patterns that WASM/Fermyon encourage?
  • What are some of the limitations that WASM imposes on services using it as a runtime? (e.g. system access, threading/multiprocessing, library support, C extensions, etc.)
  • What are the new and emerging topics and capabilities in the WASM ecosystem that you are keeping track of?
  • With Spin as the core building block of your platform, how are you approaching governance and sustainability of the open source project?
    • What are your guiding principles for when a capability belongs in the OSS vs. commercial offerings?
  • What are the most interesting, innovative, or unexpected ways that you have seen Fermyon used?
  • What are the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned while working on Fermyon?
  • When is Fermyon the wrong choice?
  • What do you have planned for the future of Fermyon?

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA