With a recent update (version 42) released for Google Chrome, the use of NPAPI (NetScape Plug-in Application Programming Interface) is now disabled by default. If you’re like most end users, and frankly, many IT administrators, your reaction to this announcement was probably something like “So, why do I care?”
Are you one of the many who has recently found themselves uttering choice expletives at your computer when your remote access of Citrix XenApp applications, or Citrix XenDesktop virtual desktops, using the Chrome browser just stopped working? The reason you should care about the aforementioned Chrome update, is that this is what made access to your Citrix environment stop working.
Many IT administrators that I know had an initial reaction of something like “Why did Google break Citrix?” In all fairness to Google, this isn’t exactly breaking news. They announced they were going to do this in September of 2013. NPAPI is a somewhat dated technology, having been developed in 1995.
You almost have to believe that Google realized that other software developers were either not paying attention, or just slow to implement replacement solutions that don’t use NPAPI. Rather than just dropping support for NPAPI with version 42, they were nice enough to make it so you can explicitly re-enable NPAPI, for now. However, with version 45, due out in September 2015, Chrome will no longer support NPAPI at all.
So, the warning shot has been fired. Citrix, and other developers who rely on NPAPI, have only a few months left before a replacement is needed. Here is a decent blog from Feng Huang that shows how to work around the Chrome version 42 changes – http://blogs.citrix.com/2015/03/09/preparing-for-npapi-being-disabled-by-google-chrome/ – for now…
Brian E. Holzer, CCE-V, CCP-N, CCP-M, CCA-N (former CCI)
Innovative Integration, Inc.