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WebGL 3D standard gets draft spec

updated 06:20 pm EST, Thu December 10, 2009

Khronos details in-browser OpenGL tech

The Khronos Group today published the draft specification for WebGL, its universal standard for accelerated 3D graphics inside web browsers. The initial format takes advantage of HTML5's canvas support to draw OpenGL ES 2.0-level graphics without having to use a plugin. Besides simplifying the use of modern 3D hardware, it lets 3D interact more closely with web pages themselves and supports tasks like scripting to automate events or even test graphics before they're put into finished code.

Support often exists those browsers modern enough to recognize HTML5 but often requires a pre-release build, including for Apple's Safari 4, Google's Chrome 3, Mozilla Firefox 3.5 and Opera 10. The use of a mobile OpenGL standard should eventually permit WebGL in mobile browsers that recognize HTML5 and use OpenGL ES for rendering, though neither Android 2.0 nor Safari on iPhone are known to recognize WebGL so far.

The code platform still has to be completed and ratified by the member group, which includes major firms like AMD, Apple, Google, Mozilla and NVIDIA, before it can be implemented on a broader basis. Khronos expects the first publicly available WebGL support to arrive in the first half of the new year.

Once active, the technology is expected to push apps even further towards the web, which already has mounting support for full applications through complex CSS, JavaScript and XML code as well as support for offline apps that don't depend on a continuous Internet connection. HTML5 forms a large part of this and already lets content providers stream audio and video more directly than they could in the past.

by MacNN Staff



  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    wow I can't wait

    I've sure missed seeing 3D graphics on webpages since they were so hot in the mid-90s.

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