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Mozilla extends WebGL support to Minefield

3D goggles await

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Mozilla has added WebGL support to its Firefox trunk.

It's the browser outfit's latest attempt to improve 3D graphics handling capabilities in Firefox.

Developer Vladimir Vukićević said Mozilla had been experimenting with WebGL for several years now and has already used it in projects such as Canvas 3D, which allows users to access OpenGL from within the browser, through the HTML5 tag.

However, the WebKit-derived WebGL project is still in its early stages as the code awaits standardisation and requires a number of tweaks, noted Vukićević.

Google, for example, has thrown its weight behind WebGL, but at the same time is developing its own experimental browser plug-in, O3D.

Mozilla has been attempting to get WebGL standardised with the Khronos Group for most of this year. According to Vukićević its implementation as a standard is making “very rapid progress.”

In the meantime developers face a number of interoperability hurdles to overcome in the next few months, because the spec is tracking at different rates.

“We still have some ways to go, as there are issues in shader security and portability, not to mention figuring out what to do on platforms where OpenGL is not available,” he said.

Developers interested in tinkering with the so-called Minefield builds (currently only available in Mozilla’s upcoming Firefox 3.7 version of the browser) can do so by following Vukićević instructions via his blog post.

He added that those curious in checking out WebGL were more likely to be able to successfully test it if they have Mac OS X and Windows machines that have up-to-date OpenGL drivers loaded. ®

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