2011-08-23

Chrome Native Client: write C++ apps against HTML5 APIs

Quoting “Native Client Brings Sandboxed Native Code to Chrome Web Store Apps” by Christian Stefansen on the Chromium Blog:
Wouldn’t it be great if you could create web apps using your existing C and C++ code? Native Client lets you do just that, and it is now enabled for Chrome Web Store apps in Google Chrome’s beta channel.
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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.
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This functionality does not come at the expense of security. 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.
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The next milestone for Native Client is architecture independence: Portable Native Client (PNaCl) will achieve this by using LLVM bitcode as the basis for the distribution format for Native Client content, translating it to the actual target instruction set before running.
Very interesting technology, especially Portable Native Client. However, with JavaScript maturing as a language and having become quite fast, there is not much of a need for it, any more. But it is an intriguing way of writing C++ apps, isn’t it?

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