Before you go, check out these stories!

0
Hackernoon logoHow to Run Go in Your Browser With Web Assembly [ Tutorial ] by@wagslane

How to Run Go in Your Browser With Web Assembly [ Tutorial ]

Author profile picture

@wagslaneLane Wagner

Bitcoinist, libertarian, atheist, cryptography fan, and founder of http://qvault.io

If you are familiar with the Go Playground, then you know how convenient it is to be able to have a Go scratchpad in the browser. Want to show someone a code snippet? Want to quickly test some syntax? Browser-based code pads a helpful. On that note, I created a new playground. The cool thing about this new playground that it doesn't use a remote server to run code, just to compile it. The code runs in your browser using web assembly (WASM).

Try out the Qvault Playground here: https://classroom.qvault.io/#/playground/go

How Does It Work?

When a user clicks "run", the code (as text) is sent back to our servers. The server is written in Go. As such the handler for the API looks something like this:

func compileCodeHandler(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
	defer r.Body.Close()

	// Get code from params
	type parameters struct {
		Code string
	}
	decoder := json.NewDecoder(r.Body)
	params := parameters{}
	err := decoder.Decode(&params)
	if err != nil {
		respondWithError(w, 500, "Couldn't decode parameters")
		return
	}

	// create file system location for compilation path
	usr, err := user.Current()
	if err != nil {
		respondWithError(w, 500, "Couldn't get system user")
		return
	}
	workingDir := filepath.Join(usr.HomeDir, ".wasm", uuid.New().String())
	err = os.MkdirAll(workingDir, os.ModePerm)
	if err != nil {
		respondWithError(w, 500, "Couldn't create directory for compilation")
		return
	}
	defer func() {
		err = os.RemoveAll(workingDir)
		if err != nil {
			respondWithError(w, 500, "Couldn't clean up code from compilation")
			return
		}
	}()
	f, err := os.Create(filepath.Join(workingDir, "main.go"))
	if err != nil {
		respondWithError(w, 500, "Couldn't create code file for compilation")
		return
	}
	defer f.Close()
	dat := []byte(params.Code)
	_, err = f.Write(dat)
	if err != nil {
		respondWithError(w, 500, "Couldn't write code to file for compilation")
		return
	}

	// compile the wasm
	const outputBinary = "main.wasm"
	os.Setenv("GOOS", "js")
	os.Setenv("GOARCH", "wasm")
	cmd := exec.Command("go", "build", "-o", outputBinary)
	cmd.Dir = workingDir
	stderr, err := cmd.StderrPipe()
	if err != nil {
		respondWithError(w, 500, err.Error())
		return
	}
	if err := cmd.Start(); err != nil {
		respondWithError(w, 500, err.Error())
		return
	}
	stdErr, err := ioutil.ReadAll(stderr)
	if err != nil {
		respondWithError(w, 500, err.Error())
		return
	}
	stdErrString := string(stdErr)
	if stdErrString != "" {
		parts := strings.Split(stdErrString, workingDir)
		if len(parts) < 2 {
			respondWithError(w, 500, stdErrString)
			return
		}
		respondWithError(w, 400, parts[1])
		return
	}
	if err := cmd.Wait(); err != nil {
		respondWithError(w, 500, err.Error())
		return
	}

	// write wasm binary to response
	dat, err = ioutil.ReadFile(filepath.Join(workingDir, outputBinary))
	if err != nil {
		respondWithError(w, 500, err.Error())
		return
	}
	w.Write(dat)
}

As you can see, the handler simply takes code as input and responds with a slice of WASM bytes.

What About the Front-End?

The front end is quite simple. First, we need to include the official Go WASM executor in our page. Assuming you have a go installation on your machine, this JavaScript file can be found at:

$(go env GOROOT)/misc/wasm/wasm_exec.js

Then include the script in the body of your html:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
  <head>
    <title>Qvault Classroom - Learn Coding</title>
  </head>
  <body>
    <script src="wasm_exec.js"></script>
  </body>
</html>

Because Qvault Classroom's front-end is written as a Vue.js single page app, I've created a small es6 module that runs a WASM byte array and returns the output as an array of lines:

const go = new window.Go();

export default async function runGoWasm(rawData) {
  const result = await WebAssembly.instantiate(rawData, go.importObject);
  let oldLog = console.log;
  let stdOut = [];
  console.log = (line) => {stdOut.push(line);};
  await go.run(result.instance);
  console.log = oldLog;
  return stdOut;
}

That's it! Running Go in the browser is pretty easy :)

If you want to try our Go Mastery course that uses the WASM playground as its backbone, sign up here! Or try the free (Very) Basic Intro to Coding course!

Thanks For Reading

Follow us on Twitter @q_vault if you have any questions or comments

Take game-like coding courses on Qvault Classroom

Subscribe to our Newsletter for more educational articles




Tags

The Noonification banner

Subscribe to get your daily round-up of top tech stories!