Feeds

Planned 3D web graphics standard taps JavaScript

Hardware speed bump

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

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. ®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.