Feeds

Planned 3D web graphics standard taps JavaScript

Hardware speed bump

Intelligent flash storage arrays

SIGGRAPH 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 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. When The Reg asked a Khronos spokesperson about this eventuality, he could neither confirm nor deny that area of focus.

WebGL members include AMD, Ericsson, Google, Mozilla, Nvidia, and Opera Software. When we noted that neither Apple nor Microsoft - maker of Internet Explorer - are listed as participating in WebGL the spokesperson reminded us that Microsoft isn't one of the dozens of members of the Khronos Group.

Apple, however, is a very active member. The company is a driving force behind the group's OpenCL GPU-assisted parallel computing initiative, for example.

Not being listed as a working-group member doesn't necessarily mean a company isn't playing a behind-the-scenes role, though. And Khronos' spokesperson was mum when we posed that speculation.

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're hoping that all the major players - Google included - will get behind an open standard. And at first blush, 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.

The group reported a host of improvements, many designed to take advantage of the increasing abilities - and complexities - of today's GPUs while still providing advantages to existing GPUs. Among the claimed goodies in version 3.2 are increased performance for vertex arrays and fence sync objects, improved pipeline programmability that includes geometry shaders in the OpenGL core, and greater flexibility in visual quality and multisampling rendering that enables shaders to directly process texture samples.

OpenGL 3.2 joins a growing list of open Khronos standards: OpenCL for GPU-assisted computing, OpenGL ES for mobile 3D graphics, the new WebGL for 3D-in-a-browser, and more.

And OpenGL 3.2 isn't just an esoteric cutting-edge set of APIs. According to the Khronos Group, the standard is compatible with over 150 million GPUs already roaming the wild. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.