Native Client: Google's (other) plugin play

Yesterday Google announced an early developer release of Native Client, a plugin for web browsers that lets you essentially run native code like C or C++ in the browser. In theory it could be extended to other languages.

Yesterday Google announced an early developer release of Native Client, a plugin for web browsers that lets you essentially run native code like C or C++ in the browser. In theory it could be extended to other languages. The main goal is to provide native-like performance and to let C/C++ developers start creating web applications. They've got a couple of cool examples, including Quake running in the browser, on the developer site.

Adobe announced Alchemy at MAX, which is a similar project for the Flash Player. Like Alchemy, Native Client uses GCC-based tools to compile C or C++ into bytecode native x86 code for the specific runtime. Alchemy uses Flash and Native Client has it's own, I assume C-based implementation. Both of these are early projects but it's the start of a trend and an example of the ever-expanding sphere of web applications. It's also very interesting to see this come out of Google, a company that has been doing a lot to expand the functionality of the web browser. They've got Gears for offline/desktop functionality, Native Client for performance, Earth for mapping, and of course Chrome for an actual browser.

Keep an eye on this project. I see the Flash Player or Silverlight has having 3 core parts: the runtime, the rendering engine, and the video codecs. Put those three things together and you've got an RIA plugin. Google has a bunch of disparate projects and none that do all of these, but they have a bunch of the pieces and a ton of engineering talent. It's also telling that Google is starting to be more and more obvious that the web browser/technologies as it exists today just aren't cutting it. That means we'll see more energy for projects like Native Code and Gears.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.
See All
See All