Google Chrome is tightening security and has formally announce it will disallow the use of NPAPI (Netscape Plugin API–http://www.meadco.com/neptune/about). A lot of companies, including several I do work for, use the NPAPI to launch executable files from withing a web page when a user clicks on a link. Chrome is phasing out the plugin over this year — 2014. They are making it increasingly harder for users to use as the year goes on. The main impetus behind this deprecation is related security issues.
There are several companies, npapi uses that have been white-listed. It isn’t clear from the chrome blog what exactly this means. One of the applications that is white-listed is Java. Java applets launch using the NPAPI plugin. In my reading of the blog, I understand the most popular plugins, i.e. Java, will eventually be disallowed with the rest. Google did say depending on feedback they may push back the final date.
The alternatives I’ve found are as follows:
1. Web Sockets
You can, using HTML 5, create a web socket connection to a desktop (localhost) application that runs on some defined port.
2. Google Native Messaging API
Google has created this api to replace the NPAPI plugin. By creating a chrome extension, launching chrome with the native messaging enabled, and a few other steps you can open and talk to native desktop applications from the browser.