Ahh... 3D for the web...
...an answer in search of a question.
Two open-source developments move a step closer to hardware-accelerated 3D web graphics that take advantage of the latest capabilities in modern GPUs. Industry consortium the Khronos Group used SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Tuesday to showcase more details about their WebGL working group. Khronos also introduced a …
No, seriously. I can't think of a single goddamn' thing I -- and about 99 & 44/100% of Web users -- would need this for. Maybe if I were an engineer, or some deep statistical analysis geek or somebody like that, but a _normal_ person? Naaahhh.
Besides, wasn't this attempted about eight, ten years ago? I seem to recall it requiring a really obscure, specialized plug-in, being really clumsy and, when not repeatedly crashing my browser, running dog-slow* -- and this was on my old Beige G3 Mac, which was a real hot rod at the time.
*Just how slow _is_ a dog, anyway?
"Besides, wasn't this attempted about eight, ten years ago?"
Yes, when people expected very different things from browsers, google maps didn't exist, people didn't play flash games for hours on end, and "having a computer" was in general a completely different thing from what it is today.
What was your point?
3D google maps using OpenGL? Yes please. Google Earth without an installer? Again, yes please. Proper 3d games that don't rely on flash? Again, yes please. If it ends up, like the "what the hell do we need that for??" canvas element, as part of a new specification, then it doesn't really become an obscure pluing, it just becomes something that a few people try to figure out how to effectively use at first, then one person, or site, does something amazing with it (to wit, the xmlhttprequest object had been around quite a while before someone went "hey, maybe I can use it for dynamic data loading" and the rest is history named AJAX) and the entire world will get with it.
Just because you don't see the use for it, doesn't mean other people can't enrich your world with it when /they/ do.
I used to make for ISP vrml pages before 98 ... back then everybody said.. lack of hw speed it keeping it from wider deployment ... then i realized its more about why would enybody need it instead of fast straight forward 2D solution... till till 2007 when i found second life "The GRID"
because by its playing nature ppl colaborated & found out how 3D can be usefull however Linden Labs killed its potential by not moving towards 3D WEB. They stop producing features which would turn it in 3D web server solution all they needed to listen where other comanies not just IBM ... so there is still litlle hope but fainting... competition doesn't stop.
Okay, I see the use of having 3D in the web, even if it were to allow for modest blending, scaling effects within some pages. But don't forget that 3D appeared a long time ago for browsers and the results weren't pretty.
VRML was a markup language for 3D content, and that content could contain links etc. To view 3D you used a plugin which could parse the content. Turns out people DON'T LIKE wandering through a hideously slow loading virtual landscape for some stupid link when HTML can put it right in front of them.
Perhaps this WebML solution will be better. By integrating the 3D into the page through the canvas element, content pagers can be as subtle or over the top as they like.
Seem to be a few posting above.
You may not be able to think of a reason for it, or you may hark back to VRML and say all web 3d is therefor rubbish, but I'm sure many other who actually think ahead a few years have better ideas. We now have fast (ish) broadband, very fast GPU's and lots of very clever 3D software. All *could* combine to produce some very good web applications with the right GL backend.
All microsoft will do is what they and Adobe and Apple have done to other Web standards that look like they'll be useful to users - join the standards group to help in its development 'oh we cant have 3d that's too complicated for the user", or "if we write that it would be a security hazard so no-one else can".
Then again they might encourage it - the more visual distraction on the computer the less likelihood of people realising 20 years of Office has got them nowhere.
At long long last, it looks like we can finally have 3d in a web browser *without* compatibility issues and users being forced to download applications (which is a major barrier for many non-technical consumers).
Over the years there have been a number of attempts at bring 3d to the web but each never get widespread support. Finally this looks like it'll (hopefully) become standard.
@Mike & David: Mark Twain was talking about people like you when he said, "Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed."
I'm not sure the argument that "trying to push a standard file formats in an industry that is famously averse to it didn't work" really counters the argument that web pages should be able to composite using the full extent of the facilities available on modern computers rather than some arbitrary subset. OpenGL is very low level (like most of the HTML/CSS constructs, so it fits nicely) and explicitly programmatic whereas VRML/etc have all been explicitly data driven and declarative — especially since they came in a nascent era for dynamic web rendering.
What we should be saying is "hooray for an attempt to give us the complete range of compositing options without a proprietary plug-in".
"Yes, when people expected very different things from browsers, google maps didn't exist, people didn't play flash games for hours on end, and "having a computer" was in general a completely different thing from what it is today."
Err sorry , how old are you , twelve?
8 years ago people used computers for almost exactly the same things as they do today - email , surfing the web, 3d games (yes , amazing isn't it , computers have only been able to do that for , oh , 25 years?). A computer of that time was perfectly capable of running a java craplet (flash plugins predecessor) at a perfectly reasonable speed for little games. And before you say video - i had full motion video running - albeit not full screen - on a 486 back in 1995. You might what to go find out what computers are *really* capable of , not what the trash bloatware OS's and apps that we suffer today drag their performance down to.
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