Google advances Native Client Web browser technology

Revamped SDK addresses security concerns, allows developers to build Native Client apps before technology's official launch

Google on Friday began offering a revamped SDK for its Native Client open source technology for running Web applications that execute native code inside a browser.

With the SDK, developers can start building Native Client applications ahead of the official launch. Plans call for putting Native Client technology inside the Google Chrome browser; until then, users cannot access the applications. Google did not have an estimate on when exactly Native Client would be supported in Chrome.

[ Also on InfoWorld.com: Blogger Neil McAllister calls Native API "Google's craziest idea yet." | Stay up to date on the key programming news and issues with InfoWorld's Developer World newsletter. Sign up today! ]

"Today, we've reached an important milestone in our efforts to make Native Client modules as portable and secure as JavaScript, by making available a first release of the revamped Native Client SDK," said Christian Stefansen, of the Google Native Client team, in a blog post.

Developers can view APIs, documentation, and examples to show how to write a module in C or C++ and communicate with JavaScript code executing in a browser. The SDK improves security, removing localhost restrictions in previous releases. "Beyond security, we've also improved the mechanism for fetching Native Client modules based on the instruction set architecture of the target machine, so developers don't need to worry about this anymore," said Stefansen.

Also featured in the SDK is support for a set of interfaces dubbed "Pepper," providing compute, audio, and 2D Native Client modules. Pepper allows better access to browser systems for plug-ins.

The issue with native applications, including plug-ins, has been their access to the full machine -- even files. As a result, users are forced to make decisions about which applications to trust. Google with Native Client comes with rules that define valid code modules and limit access to a user's computer. It offers capabilities such as validation, which can prevent an invalid module from running.

Google had released a "sneak peek" of the SDK last year. In coming months, Google plans to add APIs for 3D graphics, local file storage and peer-to-peer networking. An ABI (application binary interface) is planned as well.

"Until the ABI becomes stable, Native Client will remain off by default," Stefansen said. "However, given the progress we've made, you can now sticky-enable Native Client in Chrome 10+ through the about:flags dialog. Otherwise, you can continue using a command-line flag to enable Native Client when you want to."

Google has positioned Native Client as a technology intended to give developers full access to client CPU power while maintaining browser neutrality, OS portability, and safety in Web applications. It was built initially for 32- and 64-bit x86 systems running Windows, Mac OS, or Linux. The goal of the technology has been to enable development of Web applications that are richer and more dynamic.

This article, "Google advances Native Client browser technology," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Read more about developer world in InfoWorld's Developer World Channel.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags application developmentweb browsersapplicationsDeveloper WorldGooglesoftware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?