Publication Details: UM-CS-2013-026

Doppio: Breaking the Browser Language Barrier

Publication Type:Technical Report
Author(s):J. W. Vilk, C. M. Carey, J. Ng, E. D. Berger
Abstract:Web browsers have become a de facto universal operating system, and JavaScript its instruction set. Unfortunately, running other languages in the browser is not generally possible. Translation to JavaScript is not enough because browsers are a hostile environment for other languages. Previous approaches are either non-portable or require extensive modifications for programs to work in a browser.

This paper presents Doppio, a JavaScript-based runtime system that makes it possible to run unaltered applications written in general-purpose languages directly inside the browser. Doppio provides a wide range of runtime services, including a file system that enables local and external (cloud-based) storage, an unmanaged heap, sockets, blocking I/O, and multiple threads. We demonstrate Doppio's usefulness with two case studies: we extend Emscripten with Doppio, letting it run an unmodified C++ application in the browser with full functionality, and present DoppioJVM, an interpreter that runs unmodified JVM programs directly in the browser.