WebGL in Firefox & Webkit

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Sep 192009

WebGL has made it to the nightly builds of Firefox now, which means users willing to put up with unstable versions of FF can download it, flip a preferences flag, and start messing with it. It’s also now in WebKit:

Along with the Firefox implementation, a WebGL implementation landed in WebKit fairly recently. All of these implementations are going to have some interoperability issues for the next little while, as the spec is still in flux and we’re tracking it at different rates, but will hopefully start to stabilize over the next few months.

via WebGL in Firefox Nightly Builds at Vladimir Vukićević.

WebKit is used in Safari, iPhone, Palm Pre’s browser, Chrome, and more.

The battle for 3d web continues…

  13 Responses to “WebGL in Firefox & Webkit”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Oehlert and Spot. Spot said: RT @raphkoster: New blog post: WebGL in Firefox & Webkit http://bit.ly/Yc7fu […]

  2. I’m really very interested in the whole WebGL thing… it could be a flash in the pan, or it could have some rather deep-reaching effects. The most disappointing thing about it will be programming OpenGL in JavaScript.


  3. Sweet. How long before we see EQ or UO running a browser? Hopefully not long 🙂

  4. On the other side of this is what is happening with Windows and IE. Slowly, Microsoft is transitioning away from GDI+ as the graphics layer for Windows. It’s moving to DirectX exclusively and then giving DirectX remoting capabilities through Remote Desktop. All of these desktop technologies can be pretty easily extended to the browser through proprietary tags at which point, you’ll have two distinct standards. One that leverages the most widely used graphics layer on the planet and another standard that’s afraid of what happens when Microsoft controls the technology despite DirectX’s implementation generally being viewed as a good thing for developers.

    Interesting times. Microsoft won’t stand still on this one so I expect the battle to heat up once the demand for 3D accelerated games through your browser shows up in a market somewhere. Microsoft won’t change IE to chase a new non-proven market because of its business customers reliance on the stability of IE in a corporate environment but once it’s clear, they’ll get involved. Between desktop graphics layer changes, DirectX enabled RDP and even some of the changes coming to Media Center Edition, it will be very interesting to see how all this plays out.

  5. Derek, I think MS’s big play on this front is Silverlight.

  6. Just like jQuery had enabled a whole world of development for javascript that was not practical before, there will be a library that comes out to wrap all the complex functions of WebGL. Don’t take the complexity of the standard to be that much of a roadblock.

  7. Raph, I forgot about Silverlight. That’s probably going to play out to be the delivery method for DirectX 3D over the web at some point. I agree with you that Silverlight is a big deal here. Even beyond the bets they’ve already placed with the outstanding support for Smooth Streaming and other such video issues, it’s not hard to see Silverlight becoming their 3D web based platform.

    If I’m Unity3D or Torque, I’m scared of Silverlight once Microsoft puts DirectX 3D behind it. Flash should have done this years ago. Adobe not only has the runtime and market presence but they could have integrated it into their toolset like Microsoft does with Visual Studio and Expression. As flash sits now though leaves a lot to be desired from the 3D front. Of course, you know much better than I do of the capabilities of Flash in the graphics department having done Metaplace.

  8. @Andrew, that’s what Sony said about PS2/PS3 development and developers still complain about it today. Nothing gets adoption moving faster than integrated tools and an easy to use framework.

  9. It is disheartening or maybe just boring to see a YouTube demo video with the same examples used for VRML fifteen years ago but code samples twice as complex. If things progress as they usually do, these systems will progress in half the time, so the best I expect is to be able to do what I can do now in about seven years. Meanwhile, expectations for content will have quadrupled. It’s progress; it isn’t magic or another way of saying, once you ride in an airplane, everything after that is height, speed and the quality of the service, but it is still a ride in an airplane until you go transorbital.

  10. you know the game by now len,
    keep re-invented base code on the VC nickel…. invest nothing in content done by professionals, and then suggest that the “modems werent fast enough” when asked why did your 3d on the web fail 5 years later;)

    “The planes didnt get him. it was beauty that killed the beast”


  11. There’s no VC here, you’ll note. Also, it seems highly likely that you could implement X3D in pure JavaScript using WebGL as the backend.

    Or, you know, if you don’t like it, don’t use it. That’s fine. I think people will come up with some really slick demos and games built on top of this, personally.

  12. All true, Ted. Slick or not, the reinvention of 3D on the web for the sake of yet more but hardly different toys for the programming community paralyzes any progress in the content community and keeps it permanently impoverished.

    The web browser as the computing platform of choice has become quicksand for the rest of the industry with little visible improvement for the end users.

  13. Vivaty X3D in Flash

    Talk about hijacking the starship…

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