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Native Client Support Added to Chrome Web Store Apps in Google Chrome Beta

Native Client is now enabled for Chrome Web Store apps in Google Chrome’s beta channel.

“Native Client apps live on the web platform, so you don’t need to create separate versions of your app for each operating system. Rather than relying on OS-specific APIs, Native Client apps use Pepper, a set of interfaces that provide C and C++ bindings to the capabilities of HTML5. This means that once you’ve ported your code to Native Client, it will work across different operating systems, and you only need to maintain one code base,” informs Christian Stefansen, Product Manager.

“Today Native Client supports the Pepper APIs for 2D graphics, stereo audio, URL fetching, sandboxed local file access (File API), and asynchronous message passing to and from JavaScript. In future releases we will be adding support for hardware accelerated 3D graphics (OpenGL ES 2.0), fullscreen mode, networking (WebSockets and peer-to-peer connections), and much more.”

Native Client is a very complex framework that allows browsers to run native compiled code in a sandbox. Google’s goal is to “maintain the OS portability and safety that people expect from web apps”, while allowing developers to use their preferred language. Right now, the only supported languages are C and C++ and Native Client only works in Chrome for Windows, Mac and Linux,” stated Stefansen.

“To ensure that Native Client is as safe as JavaScript, Native Client code is isolated from the operating system by two nested security sandboxes: the Native Client sandbox and the Chrome sandbox. And unlike NPAPI plugins or ActiveX controls, Native Client apps do not have access to the underlying OS APIs.”

Google encourages developers to start developing apps with Native Client. “You can download the SDK and find tutorials, examples, API documentation, and our FAQ on the Native Client site. Once version 14 of Chrome hits stable channel, you’ll be able to upload your Native Client apps to the Chrome Web Store, where you can reach Chrome’s 160 million users,” Stefansen added.

Chrome 14 users can try the examples from this gallery: a pi generator, a sine wave synthesizer and John Conway’s Game of Life.

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