Google Simplifies NaCl Development

Google Simplifies NaCl Development

By | October 21st, 2012
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Google has created an add-on for Visual Studio, making it easier to develop

and test NaCl applications.


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For quite a while Google has been pushing Native Client (NaCl) as quick a way to create high-performance applications for the Web. Now Google has created an add-on for Visual Studio, making it easier to develop and test NaCl applications as well.

Rather than optimise the JavaScript code, or optimize the engine running it, NaCl is a quick route to performance since it enables directly running native code in a sandboxed environment in the browser. It has received both great praise for its novel approach, and great criticism for its venturing outside web standards.

In any case, NaCl is an option available to those creating applications that run on only Google Chrome. NaCl-based applications can even included in the Chrome Web Store. It is important to note that no other browser have adopted this technology and Mozilla and Opera especially do not seem to be interested.

While the NaCl SDK is cross-platform, supporting Windows, Linux and Mac. Additionally an application needs to only be compiled for the architectures it intends to support (x86, x86-64, ARM etc.) and not for each OS (Windows x86, Windows x86-64, Linux x86, Linux x86-64, Linux ARM and so on).

NaCl is also a core technology used to Google’s new Pepper API for browser plug-ins. Unfortunately, that too has not taken off in other browsers.

With a new add-on for integrating with Visual Studio, developing NaCl applications should be much simpler; till now the SDK did not offer integration with any IDE. The add-on allows coding, running an debugging applications, all from Visual Studio. The debugger is based on gdb so any debugging tool that supports it should be able to debug NaCL applications.

NaCl project open in Visual Studio

NaCl project open in Visual Studio

The new add-on is available as a part of the naclsdk. If you want to try it out, you can find instructions to install it here

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Kshitij Sobti
Inserted into Kshitij's motivation banks is a particularly strong desire for justice. It's sad then, that he wastes his skills gaming, watching TV, and for the mundane task of writing prose. He tweets