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Khronos Releases Final WebGL 1.0 Specification, Brings Accelerated 3D without Plugins

Posted Mar 6, 2011 @ 10:52 CST

Khronos Releases Final WebGL 1.0 Specification, Brings Accelerated 3D without Plugins


The Khronos Group released the final WebGL 1.0 specification to enable hardware-accelerated 3D graphics in HTML5 Web browsers without the need for plug-ins. WebGL defines a JavaScript binding to OpenGL ES 2.0 to allow rich 3D graphics within a browser on any platform supporting the industry-standard OpenGL or OpenGL ES graphics APIs. WebGL has the support of major silicon and browser vendors including Apple, 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.

WebGL leverages the pervasive availability of OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics on almost all browser-capable desktop, mobile and embedded platforms and the recent developments in Web technology including the massive increases in JavaScript performance. The ability for Web developers to directly access OpenGL-class graphics directly from JavaScript, and freely mix 3D with other HTML content, will enable a new wave of innovation in Web gaming, educational and training applications and graphically rich user interfaces to make the Web more enjoyable, productive and intuitive.

There is already a thriving middleware ecosystem around WebGL to provide a wide diversity of Web developers the ability to easily create compelling 3D content for WebGL-enabled browsers. These tools include: C3DL, CopperLicht , EnergizeGL, GammaJS, GLGE, GTW, O3D, OSG.JS, SceneJS, SpiderGL, TDL, Three.js and X3DOM. Links to these authoring tools and WebGL demos can be found here.

n addition to the WebGL specification, Khronos has created a comprehensive WebGL test suite that can be downloaded free of charge. Implementers of WebGL capable browsers can run the test suite and upload their passing test results in order be able to designate their implementations as conformant to the WebGL specification. More details on WebGL conformance tests can be found here.

"WebGL enables an entire new class of applications on the web. Being able to take advantage of first-class 3D hardware acceleration in a browser on both desktop and mobile allows web developers to create compelling and immersive experiences for their users," said Vlad Vukicevic of Mozilla and chair of the WebGL Working Group.

"HI CORPORATION is very excited about WebGL and believes that the combination of WebGL and HTML5 will become a very important platform," said Hirotaka Suzuki, CTO. "HI CORPORATION is deeply committed to WebGL and is planning to bring many of our technologies to the arena."

"NVIDIA helped to form the WebGL initiative as we believe it will fundamentally change the Web experience and we are committed to provide the optimal WebGL experience across Quadro and GeForce graphics on desktops and Tegra-based superphones and tablets," said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and vice president mobile content at NVIDIA. "The Khronos WebGL Working Group is a uniquely productive forum that has brought together the expertise of both browser and GPU vendors. Khronos is committed to working with the Web community to ensure WebGL is a dynamic and enabling piece of the Web HTML5 ecosystem for both desktop and mobile platforms."

"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. "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."

"Qualcomm is pleased to be an early adopter of open standards for mobile 3D graphics applications, including OpenGL ES and WebGL. We look forward to helping our partners lead the connected, mobile experience by integrating WebGL into our power-efficient Snapdragon wireless platforms that include Qualcomm's embedded Adreno GPUs and Qualcomm's enhanced, high-performance family of integrated CPUs," said Raj Talluri, vice president of product management for Qualcomm. "Integrating WebGL acceleration into our Snapdragon platforms will allow developers to deliver stunning new 3D applications through the web that perform comparably to native applications that are preinstalled on today's Smartphones and Tablet devices."

Khronos is also today announcing the formation of the WebCL working group to explore defining a JavaScript binding to the Khronos OpenCL standard for heterogeneous parallel computing. WebCL creates the potential to harness GPU and multi-core CPU parallel processing from a Web browser, enabling significant acceleration of applications such as image and video processing and advanced physics for WebGL games.

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