We’ve written a number of things about the contrast between native apps and web apps. The common consensus these days is that the two will eventually converge — but that has been happening more slowly than some have been hoping, particularly in the mobile space where native apps dominate. On the more traditional side of things, the transition is happening faster, but something Google has been working on could be the real missing link: Native Client. And according to Google, it’s getting close to being ready for primetime.
And while the technology is fully open source, it’s clearly being driven by Google. They’ve not only worked the most on Native Client, but they’ve developed other tech such as the Pepper Plugin API (PPAPI) which is an evolution of the Netscape Plugin API (NPAPI), which pretty much all browsers use to handle browser plugins — well, all browsers beside Microsoft Internet Explorer which uses ActiveX. Pepper was made to address the portability and performance issues with NPAPI.
Technically, this new SDK is called “Arctic Sea” and it requires Chrome 10 or above (which we just covered yesterday). Also worth noting, with the Pepper support (which is close to being “stable”), Native Client no longer supports NPAPI. You can read more about the new SDK here.