WebGL Momentum Creating Secure, Portable 3D Platform
March 28, 2013

WebGL Momentum Creating Secure, Portable 3D Platform

The Khronos Group has announced that multiple WebGL 1.0.1 implementations are now fully conformant on a range of desktop and mobile platforms – with many more to follow.

In addition, the WebGL 1.0.2 specification and a set of extensions have been submitted for ratification and are expected to be formally released in April 2013. The browser and GPU communities have been working diligently in the WebGL working group to resolve GPU driver issues and tighten the WebGL specification by precisely defining behaviors to provide a trusted and reliable platform that provides portability for 3D content within HTML5 browsers across diverse platforms. The latest information on the WebGL specification is here.

Among the first WebGL 1.0.1 implementations submitted for approval as being fully conformant are both Google Chrome 25 and Firefox 19 on Windows, Mac and Linux and a WebGL-enhanced Android browser for Tegra based platforms from NVIDIA.

"I want to thank in particular all of the major GPU vendors on desktop platforms, including AMD, Intel and NVIDIA, the developers of the Mesa 3D graphics library, the Chrome team at Google, Mozilla Corporation and Apple for their hard work and persistence in fixing bugs in order to ensure consistent operation of the WebGL, and OpenGL, APIs across operating systems and GPUs. This is a major milestone in bringing the power of the GPU to the Web," said Ken Russell of Google and WebGL Working group chair.

The WebGL 1.0.2 specification and conformance tests significantly tighten specified behavior for improved portability and testability:

  • Adds many clarifications for specification behavioral precision - principally thanks to Mozilla
  • Mandates support for certain combinations of frame buffer formats, to ease developer adoption
  • Clarifies interactions with the encompassing HTML5 platform, including the browser compositor and high-DPI displays
  • Dramatically increases the number of conformance tests to roughly 21,000 to improve both the breadth and depth of test coverage - thanks principally to work by Gregg Tavares at Google and the OpenGL ES working group.

In addition, the WebGL working group has submitted a number of optional extensions for ratification that are also expected to be released in April:

  • JavaScript-level debugging of WebGL API calls and shaders
  • A query to ensure lost context events are handled correctly - such as when a mobile device is powered off when WebGL is executing
  • Additional 3D functionality from the OpenGL ES 2.0 ecosystem such as anisotropic filtering, standard derivatives and vertex array objects

"The close cooperation between browser and silicon vendors to ensure the GPU is being reliably and securely exposed to the Web is ongoing proof that Khronos is a highly productive forum to evolve this vital Web standard," said Neil Trevett, president of Khronos and vice president of Mobile Content at NVIDIA. "Khronos remains committed, not only to evolve the functionality of WebGL to enable Web developers to use rapidly growing capabilities of mobile GPUs, but also to continue to work as a good citizen within the larger HTML5 standards community."