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21 February 2011, 10:08

Google's Native Client API almost complete

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With beta version 10 of the Chrome browser, released last Thursday, Google has also made available a revised Native Client SDK (Software Development Kit) for Native Client API development work. Development of the free interface started two years ago and the developers say that it is now almost as portable and secure as JavaScript. It is designed to give web applications that execute native code secure access to the client processor's full processing capabilities, while maintaining browser neutrality, OS portability and safety.

"Native clients" achieve considerably higher speeds in browsers than JavaScript or Flash applications. However, they need to be executed in a secure environment ("sandbox") that protects the user's working environment from being damaged by these programs. The SDK is currently classified as a developer release, which means that some features may not work as expected, and that the code is still likely to change.

The SDK offers APIs, documentation files and examples demonstrating how to write a module in C or C++ and make it communicate with JavaScript code in the browser. First previewed 18 months ago, the developer package now supports the "Pepper" interfaces for compute, audio and 2D Native Client modules. Further APIs to support 3D graphics, local file storage and peer-to-peer networking are in the planning. The Pepper plug-in API improves the modules' browser access. The developers have also upgraded the SDK's security features and have, for example, removed the expiration date and local host security restrictions they had adopted in previous releases. Further improvements affect the mechanism for fetching Native Client modules.


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