Developers from both Opera and Mozilla have recently blogged about 3D rendering contexts for the canvas element, confirming my year-old predictions. Of course, the news is a bit saddened by the decision from Opera to support a new, non-GL-based API. I understand the desire for something more high level, but putting well known GL functions underneath is a perfectly acceptable idea. One side or a third party needs to provide a compatibility layer, or they need to decide on one of these APIs. I really hope OpenGL ES makes the win here. This also ties into the OpenGL APIs on Android, accessable through WebKit, so it only makes sense that Firefox, Opera, and all the WebKit-based browsers should standardize, before Redmond releases DirectX 1.0 Web Edition Premium.
For Users This Means...
We're going to see some fun web applications taking advantage of this, but there isn't a lot we'll see that we didn't have with Flash, for years now. I think some of the most interesting effects will come when we can use a canvas as a 3D texture and can render DOM elements into the canvas. When we reach this, we'll see lots of page effects, from folding elements to crumpled elements being deleted to rotating text and interface units.
We're going to see a lot of ugly abuse.
For Developers This Means...
Just one more thing to wait years before specialists are expected, and again you need to be a jack of all trades. Now you need to understand some code, a little database theory, CSS styling, artistic design, business layout, and 3D modeling and texturing. Have fun with it.
I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.
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