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Wasm By Example


Hello World!


Let's do a "Hello world" type of program in C using Emscripten!

Tool Setup

First, let's get the emsdk which is Emscripten's tool to get the compiler and all the tools and things you need. To do that, it's easy to get it from github using git:

git clone
cd emsdk

Next, we can use the emsdk to get the very latest stable build of Emscripten, and to activate it so it's ready to use:

./emsdk install latest
./emsdk activate latest
source ./

The last command sets up the path so it can find emcc, the Emscripten compiler tool, and everything else we need.

Compiling the Code

Open your favorite text editor and save this little hello world program as hello.c:

// hello.c
#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
  printf("hello, world!\n");
  return 0;

We can compile that with

emcc hello.c -o hello.js

That emits hello.js and hello.wasm. The wasm file contains the compiled code, while the JS has all the code to load and run it. By default Emscripten output supports running both on the Web and in Node.js, so let's do that:

node hello.js

That will print hello, world! as expected.

You can also tell emcc to optimize the code - very important for code size - and also to emit HTML for you, for example like this:

emcc hello.c -O3 -o hello.html

You can then run a local webserver (like python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8000) and browse to localhost:8000/hello.html, where you'll see the expected output.