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Re: [Public WebGL] Proposing OpenGL ES extensions for inclusion into WebGL



On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 4:56 PM, Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 6:53 PM, Kenneth Russell <kbr@google.com> wrote:
>> To date, the WebGL working group has avoided exposing OpenGL ES 2.0
>> extensions via WebGL unless they are widely supported on existing ES
>> 2.0 devices. The reason is that WebGL is still in its early phases --
>> implementations aren't yet able to expose getContext("webgl") because
>> of issues with the 1.0 conformance suite -- and we want to avoid
>> fragmentation of the market before the base functionality has
>> stabilized.
>>
>> Some of the entries on your list have already been discussed
>> extensively on this list. For example, OES_element_index_uint was
>> previously rejected due to the lack of support on iOS devices.
>> Fortunately, it seems that iOS 5 has finally added support for this
>> extension. Clearly this and others should be revisited.
>>
>> OES_texture_3D is an example of one which seems like a poor idea to
>> expose because of the market fragmentation it will imply -- any
>> application which requires it will work only on desktop hardware to
>> the best of my knowledge.
>
> Just to make sure the above is clear:
>
> WebGL doesn't need to limit itself to lowest-common-denominator
> features forever.  Eventually, it can start exposing features which
> are only available on some hardware, such as desktop features.  It's
> just too early for it right now, while WebGL is still in early
> adoption, going through its API ironing-out period and people are
> getting familiar with it.
>
> That's essentially what you said above (and that we've discussed at
> length before), but it's easy to gloss over the "reason is" bit in the
> first paragraph--critical for understanding the rest--and incorrectly
> conclude that WebGL will *always* be lowest-common-denominator.
>
> Eventually, the dynamic will change: omitting higher-end features
> won't prevent fragmentation, it'll prevent adoption.  WebGL will get
> there in time.
>
> (I'm not sure I personally agree with the fragmentation argument, but
> I'm not in a rush.  As long as WebGL will open up to the broader
> capabilities of desktop hardware *eventually*, that's good enough for
> me.)

Thanks for emphasizing this point. It is absolutely the intent that
WebGL's capabilities will evolve toward those of higher-end hardware
as time goes on, and in particular as the capabilities of smaller and
larger GPUs converge.

-Ken

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