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Google Dropping Netscape Plugin API Support In Chrome/Blink 170

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the wither-portability dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it is dropping Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface support in Chrome. The company will be phasing out support over the coming year, starting with blocking webpage-instantiated plugins in January 2014. Google has looked at anonymous Chrome usage data and estimates that just six NPAPI plug-ins were used by more than 5 percent of users in the last month. To 'avoid disruption' (read: attempt to minimize the confusion) for users, Google will temporarily whitelist the most popular NPAPI plugins: Silverlight, Unity, Google Earth, Google Talk, and Facebook Video." Google offers NaCl as an alternative, and "Moving forward, our goal is to evolve the standards-based web platform to cover the use cases once served by NPAPI."
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Google Dropping Netscape Plugin API Support In Chrome/Blink

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  • by XanC (644172) on Monday September 23, 2013 @07:10PM (#44929311)

    That may be, but why don't we "evolve" this other thing to cover all the existing use cases BEFORE disabling NPAPI?

  • by greggman (102198) on Monday September 23, 2013 @07:12PM (#44929329) Homepage

    I use the AmazonMP3Downloader plugin so when I purchase music from Amazon it gets added to my music library immediately.

    AFAIK PPAPI (and NaCl) can't implement that because they need to save the music to places outside the sandbox.

    Maybe Google can help define a "download to music library" HTML5 API?

  • by tepples (727027) < minus berry> on Monday September 23, 2013 @07:20PM (#44929391) Homepage Journal

    NaCl supports only a tiny subset of NPAPI functionality, it's also not portable beyond i386 and armel.

    To which still-manufacturer-supported platforms is NPAPI portable?

  • by RamiKro (3019255) on Monday September 23, 2013 @07:36PM (#44929485)

    Yes. I am against both. Cross platform programming as an Interpreter running in a sandbox (JavaScript) or a bytecode VM (Java, NaCl...) shouldn't be done through the browser.
    The Internet should be slightly expanded HTML1 and CGI as far as I'm concerned. Maybe with an exception for audio\video if we can agree on a codec...

    Keep application development and serving to the likes of Android's Play Store + Dalvik.

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday September 23, 2013 @08:29PM (#44929899)

    Isnt NPAPI just another "de facto" standard anyways? Pretty sure the "N" stands for "netscape", not "W3C" or "IETF" or "RFC".

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday September 23, 2013 @08:31PM (#44929907)

    Nothing stops you from only writing a webpage thats HTML1 with no JS; just dont be surprised when noone wants to visit it.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday September 23, 2013 @09:36PM (#44930337) Journal

    Exactly and for an example of what can happen look at the "Yahoo Porn Bug" in my journal, I had customers spamming the living hell out of everyone in their address books and all that took was a little code, a hidden iFrame, and a browser that runs the same permission level as the user, in that case Firefox.

    Frankly the whole current system is just fucked up, you can have code from as many as a dozen different servers, splattered all over the planet, all just to load a single page. And as more and more websites go "Web 3.0 apps apps apps...did we mention we have apps?" the ability to block all that crap from God knows where diminishes. I think the problem is that JavaScript was just never built with security in mind, it was back in the day when organized cybercrime and the like was the realm of sci/fi and instead of starting over when the thing started getting unsafe we just put bandaids on the bullet wounds.

  • by washort (6555) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @12:21AM (#44931221) Homepage
    So you think the platform for useful apps should be owned by Google instead of being open to everyone?
  • by khellendros1984 (792761) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @01:26AM (#44931467) Journal

    there's no justification for running applications in a document viewer.

    Except that most of the world finds it pretty convenient, and anything we've called a web browser in the last 15 years or so has been much more than a document viewer.

    If Google is so concerned with serving up cross platform applications, they can package a VM and an App Store along with their browser.

    They do. The V8 Javascript Engine is implemented as a VM. They include the Chrome Web Store in the desktop version of their browser as well. That doesn't mean that it's not beneficial to run apps delivered over the web in the browser, the way that every other vendor does.

    Is it really too much to expect something better then serving GUIs the likes of Facebook and Gmail inside the browser?

    And what's wrong with it? A sandboxed plugin API and Javascript VM makes more sense to me than downloading a native app to handle the same thing, and I down see a benefit to having a some kind of Net-VM app, separate from the browser, to run web apps in. Either way, you're still talking about running someone else's code. From that perspective, keeping the browser integrated with a sandboxed scripting and plugin environment makes more sense than any alternatives I've heard anyone propose.

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra