Google Ending Support for PNaCl in Favor of WebAssembly

Google has announced that the company is ending support for Portable Native Client (PNaCl) in favor of WebAssembly. In the first quarter of 2018, PNaCl support will end everywhere except for inside Chrome Apps and Extensions.

PNaCl is a portable sandboxing technology, and in 2013, Google introduced a PNaCl sandbox that developers could use to build portable apps without plugins. According to Google, the sandbox didn’t work seamlessly across all browsers, but did work well for Chrome.

WebAssembly (wasm) is a new portable format used for compilation to the Web. Earlier this year, wasm reached cross-browser consensus and has full support in Chrome and Firefox. Safari and Edge Web browsers are expected to have wasm support in the near future (preview versions include wasm support). The consensus includes a JavaScript API that allows wasm to be accessed on the Web, a portable binary format, and a reference interpreter.

When it comes to native code, Google plans on focusing on wasm and encourages developers to migrate their applications from PNaCl to wasm. Google has created a set of recommendations to help developers migrate their applications.

Janet Wagner is a technical writer and contributor to ProgrammableWeb who covers breaking news, in-depth analysis, and product reviews. She specializes in creating well-researched, in-depth content about APIs, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, analytics, and other advanced technologies.