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Javascript Bindings for WebGL - 3D Browsing

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Javascript Bindings for WebGL - 3D Browsing

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Khronos Group used SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana Tuesday to showcase more details about their WebGL working group. Khronos also introduced a number of refinements to its OpenGL API set.

WebGL was introduced at the Games Developer Conference in March, with the goal of moving the web out of its 2D “flatland” and into the third dimension.

Khronos said Tuesday that WebGL will define a JavaScript binding to OpenGL ES 2.0 that will enable 3D graphics to run in a browser on any platform that supports either OpenGL or OpenGL ES. The WebGL work will take advantage of the Canvas dynamic-scripting element as defined in the HTML 5 spec.  WebGL's OpenGL ES support is interesting because it would enable the Safari browser in Apple's iPhone to take advantage of 3D hardware acceleration.  WebGL members include AMD, Ericsson, Google, Mozilla, Nvidia, and Opera Software.

Scheduled for its first public release before the middle of next year, WebGL is also being designed to take advantage of what the announcement refers to as "marked increases is JavaScript performance across all major browser."

The 3D web has been garnering a lot of attention recently, but settling on an open standard hasn't been easy. Google, for one, is both working with the WebGL group and developing its own experimental browser plug-in, O3D.  We can only hope that all the major players - Google included - will get behind an open standard. And at first glance WebGL would appear to be a strong candidate.

Kronos, meanwhile, also announced the latest version of its well-accepted 2D and 3D API set, OpenGL 3.2, the standard's third major update in a year.

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