↩ī¸ Exposing host (imported) functions

A Wasm module can import entities, like functions, memories, globals and tables. This example illustrates how to expose functions from the host.

Up until now, our WebAssembly program has only been able to do pure computation, that is, take arguments and return values. Most interesting use cases require more than just computation though. In this section we'll go over how to give the Wasm modules we run extra abilities in the form of host functions.

In this example, we'll create a system for getting and adjusting a counter value. However, host functions are not limited to storing data outside of Wasm, they're normal host functions and can do anything that the host can do.

  1. There will be a get_counter function that will return an i32 of

    the current global counter.

  2. There will be an add_to_counter function will add the passed

    i32 value to the counter, and return an i32 of the current

    global counter.

First we are going to want to initialize a new project. To do this we can navigate to our project folder, or create one. In this example, we will create a new project. Lets create it and navigate to it:

Rust
Rust

The final Rust code for this example can be found on Github: imports_function_env.rs.

Please take a look at the setup steps for Rust.

cargo new imported-function-env
cd imported-function-env

We have to modify Cargo.toml to add the Wasmer dependencies as shown below:

[dependencies]
# The Wasmer API
wasmer = "2.0"

Now that we have everything set up, let's go ahead and try it out!

Declaring the data

Because we want to store data outside of the Wasm module and have host functions use this data, we need to do some preparation. We'll need to declare the data we want to use and the container to hold it.

Rust
Rust
let shared_counter: Arc<Mutex<i32>> = Arc::new(Mutex::new(0));
​
#[derive(WasmerEnv, Clone)]
struct Env {
counter: Arc<Mutex<i32>>,
}

Here we use a combination of Arc and Mutex to guarantee thread safety while allowing mutability.

Declaring functions and imports

Now that our data is available we'll declare the functions.

Rust
Rust
fn get_counter(env: &Env) -> i32 {
*env.counter.lock().unwrap()
}
​
fn add_to_counter(env: &Env, add: i32) -> i32 {
let mut counter_ref = env.counter.lock().unwrap();
​
*counter_ref += add;
*counter_ref
}

As you can see here, both functions take an extra parameter in the form of a mutable reference to an Env which is the container we created to hold our data.

The last thing we need to do now is to imports the function in the Wasm module.

Rust
Rust
let get_counter_func = Function::new_native_with_env(
&store,
Env { counter: shared_counter.clone() },
get_counter
);
​
let add_to_counter_func = Function::new_native_with_env(
&store,
Env { counter: shared_counter.clone() },
add_to_counter
);
​
let import_object = imports! {
"env" => {
"get_counter" => get_counter_func,
"add_to_counter" => add_to_counter_func,
}
};

We use Function::new_native_with_env here to tell Wasmer our host functions need our Env to be passed in addition to other arguments.

If the host function does not need external data (it is pure) we can use Function::new_native instead of Function::new_native_with_env.

Now each time the add_to_counter will be run from the Wasm module it will alter the data on the host side.

Running

We now have everything we need to run the Wasm module, let's do it!

Rust
Rust

You should be able to run it using the cargo run command. The output should look like this:

Compiling module...
Instantiating module...
Initial ounter value: 0
Calling `increment_counter_loop` function...
New counter value (host): 5
New counter value (guest): 5

If you want to run the examples from the Wasmer repository codebase directly, you can also do:

git clone https://github.com/wasmerio/wasmer.git
cd wasmer
cargo run --example imported-function-env --release --features "cranelift"