Introducing Google Native Code Client (NaCl)

Not long after the wet paint has dried on initiaitives such as Google Chrome, Google Gears and the Google Cellphone: the G1… the house of Google launches another potential Game-Changer: Google Native Code Client.

Native Client is an open-source research technology for running x86 native code in web applications, with the goal of maintaining the browser neutrality, OS portability, and safety that people expect from web apps. Google’s released this project at an early, research stage to get feedback from the security and broader open-source communities. They state as one of their primary motivations that they believe that Native Client technology will someday help web developers to create richer and more dynamic browser-based applications.

Google NaCl is a fairly major departure in terms of architecture from many other RIA technologies.
Silverlight, Flex, JavaFX, and Ajax all execute in a managed environment which is slower than native C/C++ code but is also more portable across operating systems and computer chip technologies. However, given the fact that the three most common desktop operating systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux) all run on the x86 chip architecture, portability across chip architectures would appear to be far less important today than it was five years ago. (Unless, of course, you also want your code to run on other devices such as smart phones.)

There is another problem that promises to be a big barrier to adoption for NaCl in the mass consumer market. The NaCl runtime environment is a whopping 22MB in size. For the Mac the largest runtime environments for RIA technologies prior to NaCl were Java (15MB), Adobe AIR (12MB) and Curl (9MB). The plug-ins for Flex ( 5.5MB) and Silvelright 2 (7.1MB) are even smaller. Ajax is a mostly zero install technology.

While NaCl provides enticing performance advantages, there is no guarantee that NaCl will become competitive or even reach a final release. Other, better-established, players have already saturated the mass market and enterprise developers are less likely to adopt a technology that is called “experimental”. So while NaCl is interesting it is not a shoe-in as a game changer. Still, Google is a force to be reckoned with and NaCl cannot be dismissed easily.

Check it out..

Above is taken from Richard Monson-Haefel’s excellent article at InsideRIA combined with a bit of the description from the NaCl project site…

2 thoughts on “Introducing Google Native Code Client (NaCl)

  1. When you take the writings of someone else and pass them off as your own its not only bad manners it’s also called plagiarism. You copied my post from InsideRIA.com word for word! You should be ashamed of yourself.

    1. Hi Richard,

      Thank you very much for pointing this out… Please accept my most sincere apologies, it was never my intention to exempt your accreditation…
      I have added a reference to your article in my hope to clarify the origins.

      Humbly yours,
      Peter Andreas Molgaard

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