WebGL 1.0 Spec Released,WebCL Coming!

WebGL,TECHNEWSAs the browser’s war picking hot , now it’s an era of the 3D Web with the release of the WebGL 1.0 specification, which will allow hardware-accelerated 3D graphics within HTML 5 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. Microsoft, however, has yet to support it.

3D graphics has been tried within the Web before, most notably with the release of the Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML) in 1994, which brought unaccelerated vector graphics to the Web. But the technology never took off, partially because of the performance of 1990s PCs, the lack of development support, and skepticism that vector graphics was a necessary component for Web sites.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.

With WebGL, the standard can call OpenGL or OpenGL ES graphics, and mix them with other HTML functions. Tools to exploit these may be found at the Khronos Web site or it’s Demo repository here ,includes C3DL, CopperLicht, EnergizeGL, GammaJS, GLGE, GTW, O3D, OSG.JS, SceneJS, SpiderGL, TDL, Three.js and X3DOM. “WebGL will finally free web developers from the confines of 2D without the need for a plug-in,” said Tim Johansson, lead graphics developer, Opera Software, in a statement. “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 TVs.”

Some big competition for WebGL comes from Adobe Systems’ Flash, which already is a major force in online gaming. Flash has lacked true 3D support, but that’s changing. In the last week, Adobe released a preview version of Molehill, its 3D programming interface, in a Flash Player 11 “incubator build.”And like WebGL, Molehill is accompanied by higher-level libraries and is useful for more than just 3D.

How WebGL works?

WebGL is an interface between JavaScript and Open GL ES 2.0, a library in native code that directly accesses the hardware of graphics cards. There is a version of Open GL for each model of graphics card, which typically is installed by the operating system whatsoever.The rendering is done in Canvas, a surface graphics display which is part of HTML 5 and is already implemented by many browsers. WebGL can be used on other platforms, whether they use WebKit in particular.

WebCL coming

However, there was also the announcement of WebCL, which is likely to dramatically impact cloud computing and web apps as the standard will define a way how to hardware-accelerate software that runs in web browsers.The compute language would let a browser use JavaScript to trigger parallel computing using the graphics chip, giving many of the features of OpenCL to a web browser. The new format could improve the performance of games and videos on the web by offloading some of the work to the video hardware or a spare core in the main processor.
Even more significant, Khronos announced the formation of the WebCL working group, which will work on a standard to enable OpenCL via JavaScript. OpenCL uses multicore-processors and GPUs to provide highly parallel application processing. Enabled in a browser, WebCL could open an entirely new world for cloud applications at much higher performance levels. Khronos mentioned image and video processing as well as advanced physics for web games that could come alive through WebCL.

OpenCL was initially developed by Apple and is supported in Mac OS X 10.6. Since then, OpenCL has been adopted by Nvidia and AMD/ATI, both of which support the technology through their GPGPU architectures. Intel supports OpenCL in its latest Sandy Bridge processors. There has been no guideline when we could see an implementation of WebCL.

The Body Browser from Google Labs

It’s like the equivalent of Google Earth for the human physique: The Body Browser. Google Labs now offers the possibility to explore a female body in 3 dimensions. A very nice illustration of the power of interactivity: you can peel back all layers from the skin to the bone. It’s also a powerful showcase for WebGL, a technology that allows 3D rendering in the browser without the need for plugins. To try the Body Browser you need one of the latest builds of Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Or you can just watch this video for a first impression,Enjoy!

How do i turn on WebGL in Firefox4 beta?

Type “about:config” in your browser’s URL bar – Do a search for “webgl” in the Filter field – Double-click the “enabled_for_all_sites” preference to change it to “true” and visit demo here.It will take a while loading depending on your browsing speed.

If you have problems with WebGL then set the pref webgl.verbose to true to see error messages in the “Tools > Error Console” .You may have an unsupported graphics display card.You may need to enable the “Tools > Error Console” (pref devtools.errorconsole.enabled true)

For more news on WebGl visit Khronos or Learning WebGL


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Posted on March 4, 2011, in Firefox, Technews, WebReview. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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