Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

An Now For Something Entire....Oooh! Shiny!

The Google O3D team just launched and the news stories are already starting to trickle out.

Ok, so it's shiny...but so what?

First, O3D embeds V8. This means that while you might be running your O3D code in a browser with a terrible JavaScript engine, or worse, an engine with terrible GC pauses, your O3D content isn't subject to those problems. This is a Big Win (TM). Most of the web can limp by with bad GC behavior, but interactive 3D just can't. You might have seen the difference this makes by running Dean's Monster demo in Chrome and then trying it in other browsers.

Next, O3D presents a scene graph. Direct-mode proposals to the 3D-on-the-web discussion are based on the idea that JavaScript programmers will ship enormous toolsets down the wire in order to re-create the scene graph and/or to parse shape descriptions. Having direct access to the OpenGL surface description is incredibly powerful, but I suspect not sufficient in the long term to really bootstrap a world where 3D is a first-class citizen. Also, using the web as a way to break-open some of the closed interchange challenges of today's 3D world isn't going to happen when everyone's description of things is entirely programmatic, so I'm excited by the direction of O3D as a force for good.

Congrats to the O3D team. It's a big day for them and the deserve huge props for shipping concurrently on Windows and Mac.