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It works nicely, but has some downsides: Inspired by the GC proposal, I’ve tried switching from the 64-bit Na N boxing to native pointer-size (32-bit for Wasm32) words with a minimal tagging system to store integers, which is equivalent to what is available there. This means that every pointer to every garbage-collected object is a number divisible by 4…
In my Web Assembly-based Java Script-like engine experiment I initially implemented Na N boxing similarly to how Firefox/Spider Monkey do it. That is, if pointers are 32 bits wide (4 bytes), the structs have to be at a memory location that’s evenly divisible by 4, or it won’t be efficiently accessible.
At the beginning of each function, a Scope or Scope Ret Val object is instantiated: This saves the stack position, and restores it to its original state when the function exits — so you don’t have to manually remember to pop.
That’ll free up any of your locally allocated values for garbage collection.
Most JS engines implement some form of mark-and-sweep garbage collection, usually enhanced with various fancy features we won’t get into here (moving/compaction, generational sweeps, etc).
The mark phase involves tracing your way through the object graph.
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