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Discussion on: [Question] Are we still doing 'native' browser plugins in 2017/2018?

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tom profile image
tom • Edited on

Do we still create 'native' plugins for the browser or is this considered universally deprecated?

My perception1 is that they are fading out.

I think this is largely due to the steady advance of web standards into areas that were previously only the domain of these plugins.

In the past, the biggest issues have been cross-browser compatibility and security, both of which are addressed more directly by the web standards process.

In particular, take a look at WebAssembly — my understanding is that at least part of their goal is safe extension of the web platforms's low-level primitives.

Are there any standards?

Not exactly. The tech involved differs from browser to browser: ActiveX, NPAPI, and PPAPI are places to start.

What do you call these type of plugins and where do I find more information?

Your term — native browser plugins — is pretty good! I can't find a consistent naming across the technologies, but "native client" is the term Google uses.

Hopefully the links above will help you find more.

If 'native' plugins are indeed not the way to go, does that mean we are limited to using only functionality supported by browser extensions?

If you want to build something using tech that is completely unavailable to browsers then you might have a case for using either native client tech or WebAssembly.

Also take look at the Web Incubator Community Group for new and developing standards.

Disclaimer: this area is quite new to me but so took this opportunity to go deeper. Happy to take corrections!

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orkon profile image
Alex Rudenko

If you want to build something using tech that is completely unavailable to browsers then you might have a case for using either native client tech or WebAssembly.

The native client page says: "NOTE: Deprecation of the technologies described here has been announced for platforms other than ChromeOS.". So I guess it will stop working in the browser soon.