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GDC 2011: Khronos Releases Final WebGL 1.0 Spec For HTML5 3D

GDC 2011: Khronos Releases Final WebGL 1.0 Spec For HTML5 3D

March 4, 2011 | By Staff

March 4, 2011 | By Staff
More: Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet, GDC

The Khronos Group announced its release of the final WebGL 1.0 specification, which enables hadware-accelerated 3D graphics in HTML5-compatibie web browsers without requiring plug-ins.

Khronos says 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." The graphics library takes adavantage of the "pervasive availability" of OpenGL ES 2.0 on a variety of desktop, mobile, and embedded platforms.

The group believes that the ability for web developers to access OpenGL-class graphics directly from Javascript, and 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."

WebGL is supported by a number of web browser creators, including Apple, Google, Mozilla, and Opera. Khronos says multiple browsers have shipped with WebGL implementations, including beta releases for Mozilla Firefox 4.0, all channels of Google Chrome 9.0, an Opera preview build, and Apple Mac OS Safari's nightly builds.

Khronos points out that  a "thriving" middleware ecosystem exists around WebGL through tools like C3DL, CopperLicht , EnergizeGL, GammaJS, GLGE, GTW, O3D, OSG.JS, SceneJS, SpiderGL, TDL, Three.js, and X3DOM.

With the release of the final WebGL1.0 spec, Khronos has posted a free WebGL test suite for browser creators. It also announced the formation of WebCL, a group seeking to "explore defining a JavaScript binding to the Khronos OpenCL standard for heterogeneous parallel computing, and is inviting companies interested in participating.

"WebGL enables an entire new class of applications on the web," says Vlad Vukićević of Mozilla and chair of the WebGL Working Group. "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."

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