Meet the web platform - On the cutting edge
Alex Komoroske, a Product Manager on Chrome's open web platform team, demonstrates how the web platform is learning entirely new tricks like webcam access, sophisticated audio APIs, and complex 3D effects. Check out the companion for more information on the demos and the technology that powers them: goo.gl
The Khronos Group has finally put its stamp on the WebGL 1.0 spec, and that's good news for those of you running Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, and any other up-to-date WebKit browsers. If you're an Internet Explorer user, however, you're still not invited to the party.
Microsoft, with IE9 only being available for Windows Vista and 7, is perfectly content with IE9's DirectX-based hardware acceleration. It will be interesting to see what happens with the mobile version of IE9, too -- if HTML5 and WebGL apps take off, Microsoft (and Nokia) will want to support them.
Mozilla's Jay Sullivan doesn't appear worried though, saying "Between Firefox and Chrome, people will build stuff." You can, of course, add WebGL support to Internet Explorer yourself -- by installing Google Chrome Frame, though admittedly that brings a whole lot more functionality than browser-based 3D.
Okay, so we're not quite at the point where you're going to be playing the next Crysis sequel in your browser, but still -- the arrival of WebGL in Chrome's beta channel is kind of a big deal. Apart from being able to play around with cool demos like the ones offered up by Google in its official announcement, WebGL is another important step in bringing more desktop-like functionality to the Web.
In addition to cloud-y 3D support, hardware acceleration support is due to arrive at some point -- presumably before Chrome 9 gets pushed to the stable channel. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen, but we'll know soon enough thanks to the six-week release cycle.
Check your Chrome wrench icon for the update notification, or hit About Google Chrome to force a check.
Anyone else up for some WebGL Quake action?