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Re: [Public WebGL] download/activity indicator

It's easy enough for the application writer to handle this.  WebGL (like
OpenGL) is supposed to be a low level API - you have to expect to handle
some of these things for yourself.

Having the browser tell the user "We're not ready to play yet because
stuff is downloading" is a really bad idea.  My present app pre-loads
things in background while getting the user signed in, choosing what
(s)he wants to play, designing an avatar, etc.  I *REALLY* don't want
the browser telling them that they have to wait when I've gone to a hell
of a lot of trouble to make a smooth user experience that specifically
avoids them having to wait!   Doing that makes my application look like
it takes longer to start up than it really does.  JavaScript/HTTP
supports background loading - so the browser can't possibly know when
we're done.

The job of a low level API like OpenGL/WebGL is to make it possible for
carefully written applications to behave nicely - the job of middleware
is to make that easy to do for developers who don't have the time to do
a proper job of it themselves.

Hence, it is entirely inappropriate for the browser/WebGL to tell the
user things that aren't necessarily true.  It's OK to have some kind of
built-in activity indicator - but it shouldn't be over-specific about
whether the user should wait or not.  Some things have to be left for
the application...this is one of them.  If your application is going to
take more than a couple of seconds to get to the point where the user
can interact with it - then it should provide a load indicator of its own.

That said - there is room for a layer of middleware on top of WebGL that
might provide those kinds of services automatically.

  -- Steve

Chris Marrin wrote:
> On Aug 6, 2010, at 4:22 PM, Mark Callow wrote:
>> When WebGL apps are loading there often be times when the browser
>> status bar says "Done" but nothing is apparently happening. E.g, the
>> Spore demo. In the case of Spore it is downloading the model data. In
>> other cases in fact nothing is happening because the app. is broken.
>> This is very user unfriendly. Can browser vendors make the
>> download/activity indicator operate when WebGL apps are loading model
>> data? Then if the browser says "Done" and nothing has appeared, users
>> will know there is a problem.
> The Spore model is being downloaded with XHR, which gives plenty of
> events telling you its progress. But it's up to the author to use
> these events to give the user feedback. The fact that Vlad is not
> doing this is just shameful :-) (I don't do it either!)
> You do see some demos that popup a dialog if they fail to get a WebGL
> context and that give a busy indicator while data is being loaded.
> You're starting to see WebGL libraries  that have this functionality
> built in. So in the future I think you'll see the feedback more...
> -----
> ~Chris
> cmarrin@apple.com <mailto:cmarrin@apple.com>

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