WebGL Makes Its Way into Firefox 3.7

With support for the feature progressing rapidly

By Lucian Parfeni on September 21st, 2009 07:21 GMT
It looks like support for the upcoming web 3D graphics project WebGL is building up fast, as, just one week after it made its way into Webkit's latest experimental source-code releases, Mozilla Firefox 3.7 nightly builds also sport the new feature. The project is still pretty much in the early stages and still has a long way to go until standardization, but the developers believe there should be a much sturdier implementation within several months.

“Last night, I checked in some more work from Mark Steele (who's focusing on the Firefox WebGL implementation), and along with that, enabled WebGL in trunk nightlies,” Mozilla developer Vladimir Vukićević wrote. “If you're not familiar with WebGL, it's the evolution of work that Mozilla started a few years ago with experiments called Canvas 3D – essentially a way of accessing OpenGL from within the browser, through the HTML5 canvas tag. Earlier this year, we started a standardization effort within the Khronos Group which oversees OpenGL, and have made very rapid progress.”

While the project itself has been in the making for several years now, it only started picking up steam a couple of months ago, when it was officially announced with support from several industry players and browser makers. The idea behind it is to bring cross-platform, native 3D capabilities to browsers independent of proprietary plugins, Adobe Flash and the likes, using standard web technologies like JavaScript. It will use the <canvas> element from the upcoming HTML 5 standard and it has the support from most browser makers excluding Microsoft, of course.

One major step forward was made last week, when it finally became available, though not enabled by default, in the latest developer releases of Webkit, the open-source HTML rendering engine initially developed by Apple and used by Safari, Google Chrome and several Linux and mobile browsers. And now it has also made its way into the Firefox branch codenamed Minefield, which will eventually develop into Firefox 3.7. Just like Webkit, it isn't enabled by default, as there still are several major issues to be handled, but curious users and developers can experiment with the new feature by going to the advanced-settings configuration page “about:config” and enabling “webgl.enabled_for_all_sites.”
The upcoming Firefox 3.7 now has support for WebGL
   The upcoming Firefox 3.7 now has support for WebGL
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