The Web is Dead. Long Live the (3D) Web


Ok, well actually it’s a bit more like the web is getting ready to transform. – quite literally. ;-)

Developers will start needing to get familiar with depth cueing, mip mapping, vector normals, and perspective transforms as the standard hardware accelerated 3D capability becomes the norm.
The Khronos working group with representatives from Mozilla, Apple, Opera and Google are working hard to deliver an effective standard integrating WebGL into HTML5 by the end of the year. Read this as a very real, practical attempt to make an OpenGL like environment available to web programmers that is capable of taking advantage of the hardware acceleration on your graphics card.
These people and companies have delivered massive innovation, so given the compelling opportunity with the confluence of

  • An unprecedented outbreak of harmony across the main browser vendors
  • Even low end graphics cards have good 3D capability, driven by the consumer games market
  • Consumer 3D displays
  • The drive for novelty in the market is at an all time high

I would think that it will be too great an opportunity to pass up. The potential win is too large to ignore.

From the Chromium blog, we understand that solid real progress is being made, with claims being backed up by some sexy demos for all you doubting Thomas’s and Thomasina’s ;-)

https://sites.google.com/a/chromium.org/dev/developers/demos-gpu-acceleration-and-webgl

You will need a Web GL enabled browser too Firefox, Safari, or Chrome Canary will all work. (http://khronos.org/webgl/wiki/Getting_a_WebGL_Implementation)

Desktop users should be just fine, some laptops ship with graphics hardware that leaves something to be desired, but should still probably be just about ok for a while…

Oh, and just in case all you mobile users felt left out, Open GL ES is expected to be adopted as the main standard for mobile 3D including the iPhone.

Enjoy your 3D experience. and welcome to the new world…

Some books and links to help you get up to speed with WebGL, Open GL, and 3D in general.

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