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04 March 2011, 11:41

GDC: 3D in your browser – WebGL 1.0 is finished

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WebGL Logo At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco (GDC), the Khronos Group has released version 1.0 of the WebGL specification. WebGL is basically a JavaScript interface for OpenGL ES (Open Graphics Library for Embedded Systems), with which browsers can display 3D graphics without a plug-in. Implementations in Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari use the Canvas element in HTML5 for output in browsers.

The WebGL working group brings together browser vendors Apple, Google, Mozilla and Opera. There is currently no implementation for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, as DirectX is used to accelerate hardware on Windows Vista and Windows 7 systems. Google, however, supports WebGL within Internet Explorer via the Chrome Frame plug-in, which enables Microsoft’s browser to switch rendering engines as necessary.

Work on the standard was announced at Siggraph in August 2009. In particular, it is intended to speed up the development of browser games. The Khronos Group has also set up a working group for the WebCL specification to describe JavaScript interfaces for OpenCL (Open Computing Language). Web applications would then be able to take full advantage of graphics processors and multi-core architectures.


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