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Google Chrome Deprecating Portable Native Client in Favor of WebAssembly

Accepted submission by takyon at 2017-06-01 22:20:39
Software

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/chrome-deprecates-pnacl-embraces-webassembly,34583.html [tomshardware.com]

Google announced that its Portable Native Client (PNaCl) solution for making native code run inside the browser will be replaced by the new cross-browser web standard called WebAssembly.

Around the same time Google introduced Chrome OS in 2011, it also announced Native Client (NaCl), a sandboxing technology that runs native code inside the browser. This was initially supposed to make Chrome OS a little more useful offline compared to only running web apps that required an internet connection. Two years later, Google also announced PNaCl, which was a more portable version of NaCl that could work on ARM, MIPS, and x86 devices. NaCl, on the other hand, only worked on x86 chips.

Even though Google open sourced PNaCl, as part of the Chromium project, Mozilla ended up creating its own alternative called "asm.js," an optimized subset of JavaScript that could also compile to the assembly language. Mozilla thought that asm.js was far simpler to implement and required no API compatibility, as PNaCl did. As these projects seemed to go nowhere, with everyone promoting their own standard, the major browser vendors seem to have eventually decided on creating WebAssembly.


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