Google Chrome Continues Phase-Out of Old Netscape APIs
The NPAPI removals, which began in January 2014, now continue in the Chrome Web Store.Google is continuing the process of removing support for old Netscape-era APIs from the Chrome Web browser by now removing references to the old Netscape Plug-in APIs (NPAPIs) from its Chrome Web Store. The latest move to remove the old, troublesome code was announced by Justin Schuh, a Google software engineer, in a May 27 post on The Chromium Blog. "Last September, we announced our plan to remove NPAPI support from Chrome by the end of 2014," wrote Schuh. "This change will improve Chrome's security, speed, and stability as well as reduce complexity in the code base. Over the last few quarters, we've been encouraged to see an overall 12.9 percent drop in per-user instantiations of NPAPI plug-ins and declining usage of the most popular NPAPI plug-ins," including Microsoft Silverlight, Google Earth, Unity, Google Talk and Java. The latest developments in the demise of NPAPI include the removal of NPAPI-based apps references on the home page, search results and category pages of the Chrome Web Store, he wrote. "In Chrome 37, Webpage-instantiated NPAPI plug-ins will be blocked using the harder-to-bypass page-action blocking UI."
Google added a new Native Messaging API to its Chrome Web browser starting with Version 29 last fall to replace the capabilities of a formerly popular Netscape-era NPAPI Web browser plug-in that had its support cut back in January 2014. The move to remove the old NPAPI from Chrome browsers came about because the old API isn't used or supported on today's mobile devices and because the Mozilla Foundation also blocked NPAPI plug-ins in the Firefox browser in December 2013, according to an earlier eWEEK report.