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12 August 2011, 16:07

Chrome 14 beta goes Native

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The integration of Native Client into Google’s Chrome browser is the main change in the beta of version 14 of the browser, according to a Chrome blog posting. Native Client allows C/C++ code to be run inside the browser, and enables developers to connect C/C++ libraries for graphics and audio and to port desktop and web applications; Pepper provides the required C/C++ APIs.

A double sandbox provides protection from malicious plug-ins. One element of the sandboxes analyses binary code and executes it only if it adheres to certain rules, for example, calls from syscall are not allowed. Another element of the sandbox is runtime environment monitoringPDF of plug-ins. If they perform inadmissible actions, such as attempting direct access to local files or using self-modifying code, the monitoring system terminates them. A Bridge between the browser and the native client code allows messages to be passed between web applications and plug-ins, and to interact with JavaScript.

To create Native Client applications, developers need the Native Client SDK. This contains adapted versions of GNU compilation tools as well as header files and code files. The code generated runs on all supported platforms, though different binaries have to be generated for 32- and 64-bit environments. The SDK is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

The Web Audio API has also been incorporated in the latest Chrome beta and is based on the proposal by the W3C. JavaScript functions can be used to produce sound effects such as the acoustic effects of cathedrals, tunnels, and forests and the movement and positions of sounds ("spatialisation"). Examples have been made available online; they can be tried out in Chrome version 13 if about:flags has "Web Audio" switched on. Versions of the examples for Safari on Mac OS X are also on the web site.


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