WebGL 1.0 Brings 3D Web

Mar 4, 2011 10:45 AM PST
BEAVERTON, Ore. — The Khronos Group is moving one step closer to 3D web by releasing the WebGL 1.0 specification, which will allow hardware-accelerated 3D graphics within HTML5 browsers.

The standard is already supported via Google, Mozilla and Opera with multiple browsers already shipping with WebGL implementations including the beta releases for Mozilla Firefox 4.0, all channels of Google Chrome 9.0, an Opera preview build, and Apple Mac OS Safari nightly builds.

"WebGL enables an entire new class of applications on the web,” said Vlad Vukicevic of Mozilla and chair of the WebGL Working Group.

"Being able to take advantage of first-class 3D hardware acceleration in a browser on both desktop and mobile allows web developers to create compelling and immersive experiences for their users."

WebGL has already been to run on Android phones via Firefox, and Sony Ericsson also published a project where it enabled WebGL support in the Android browser.

"WebGL will finally free web developers from the confines of 2D without the need for a plug-in," said Tim Johansson, lead graphics developer for Opera Software.

"Once WebGL becomes pervasive, we can look forward to a new era in creativity on the Web. Opera is excited to be part of the WebGL initiative. We intend to support WebGL in our browsers, whether on computers, mobile phones or or TVs."

With WebGL, the standard can call OpenGL or OpenGL ES graphics, and mix them with other HTML functions. Tools to exploit these include C3DL, CopperLicht, EnergizeGL, GammaJS, GLGE, GTW, O3D, OSG.JS, SceneJS, SpiderGL, TDL, Three.js and X3DOM.

"This in combination with the fact that the future graphical stacks for smartphones will be hardware accelerated, which will enable the creation of compelling 3D user experiences," said Anders Isberg, a researcher with Sony Ericsson.

"This could be, for example, 3D games, medical visualization, 3D content creation or 3D virtual environments using web technologies."

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