Khronos Group to Enable Hardware-Accelerated 3D Graphics on the Web

Khronos Details WebGL Initiative

by Anton Shilov
08/05/2009 | 12:01 PM

The Khronos Group this week announced more details on its new WebGL working group for enabling hardware-accelerated 3D graphics in Internet pages without the need for browser plug-ins.  First announced at the Game Developers Conference in March of 2009, the WebGL working group includes many industry leaders such as ATI/AMD, Ericsson, Google, Mozilla, Nvidia Corp. and Opera.

 

“The Web has already seen the wide proliferation of compelling 2D graphical applications, and we think 3D is the next step for Firefox. We look forward to a new class of 3D-enriched Web applications within Canvas, and for creative synergy between OpenGL developers and Web developers,” said Arun Ranganathan of Mozilla and chair of the WebGL working group.

The WebGL working group is defining a JavaScript binding to OpenGL ES 2.0 to enable rich 3D graphics within a browser on any platform supporting the OpenGL or OpenGL ES graphics standards.  The working group is developing the specification to provide content portability across diverse browsers and platforms, including the capability of portable, secure shader programs. WebGL will be a royalty-free standard developed under the proven Khronos development process, with the target of a first public release in first half of 2010.

The WebGL specification will leverage recent developments in Web technology including the Canvas element defined as part of the HTML 5 specification and the marked increases in JavaScript performance across all major browsers. Accelerated OpenGL ES functionality that is directly accessible from JavaScript is expected to encourage a wide variety of 3D-enhanced Web applications including those using rich user interfaces for enhanced navigation and functionality - making the Web more enjoyable, productive and intuitive for end-users.