Citing the need for cross-browser compatibility, Google chooses WebAssembly for running native code in Chrome
For Google, it is time to ring out the old and ring in the new when it comes to running native code in the browser. To this end, Google is making the WebAssembly portable code format its solution for native code going forward, displacing the company’s Portable Native Client (PNaCl).
PNaCl lacked the desired cross-browser compatibility offered by WebAssembly, the company said. PNaCl support will be removed early next year except in Chrome Apps and Extensions. Google said usage of PNACl is low enough to warrant deprecation and that WebAssembly has a vibrant ecosystem, making it a better fit. “Historically, running native code on the web required a browser plugin. In 2013, we introduced the PNaCl sandbox to provide a means of building safe, portable, high-performance apps without plugins,” Google’s Brad Nelson, software engineer on NaCl, PNaCl, and WebAssembly, said. “Although this worked well in Chrome, it did not provide a solution that worked seamlessly across all browsers.”
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