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Re: [Public WebGL] WebGL 1.0 ratified and released

On Mar 8, 2011, at 8:20 AM, steve@sjbaker.org wrote:

>> On Mar 4, 2011, at 5:21 AM, steve@sjbaker.org wrote:
>>> Congratulations!
>>> I've gotta say that this has been the smoothest, friendliest and most
>>> effective piece of web standardization effort I've ever participated in.
>>> I'm pleased to see that WebCL is heading in the same direction.  I
>>> *really* wish we could get the audio side of things moving the same way
>>> instead of trying to continually re-invent the wheel though.
>> Are you saying you don't believe the Audio XG is going in the right
>> direction?
> Not exactly...but it's not what I (as an application author) need.
> I think it's a terrible idea to "reinvent the wheel".  The success of
> WebGL (and, I confidently predict, the future success of WebCL) is due to
> the fact that:
> a) Development of the spec is fast because we're just specifying JS
> bindings for an existing, documented API.
> b) We know that the API we're cloning is complete, stable, useful,
> popular, portable, understood by developers and has 95% of the code
> already written.
> c) We have existing hardware-accelerated implementations - there are
> stable, well-supported, pre-existing drivers for us to "wrap".
> When you reinvent the wheel, you're in danger of missing stuff that's
> important, having to write a LOT of code that'll take a while to get
> stable, you'll be putting in features that developers don't need, etc.
> The god-awful <audio> tag suffers from all of those problems - it's an
> ugly compromise, developers hate it, it doesn't work as described in ANY
> browser, the spec is full of junk that nobody needs and is missing utterly
> vital features without which it's completely useless - and it's really
> vague on fundamental issues like "how many sounds can I play at once?".
> I don't know whether Audio XG falls into any of those traps - but I do
> know that if we had just done for OpenAL then application writers would
> embrace it like a long-lost friend...just as we did for WebGL/OpenGL.  We
> could also have it done REALLY fast.  We'd write some quick JavaScript
> wrappers - add support for the typed arrays - added some loaders for
> common copyright-free sound formats - tie it all up in a pretty red bow. 
> All of the tricky lessons we've learned on WebGL would carry over to WebAL
> without the need for debate.  I bet we could write a spec in a week that
> we'd all agree on.

Sounds like you have strong opinions. It also sounds like you weren't involved in the development of the <audio> node or either of the 2 proposals now being considered in the AudioXG group. OpenAL is a fine attempt at making an "OpenGL-like API for audio", and it does work well for a class of games where 3D positional audio is necessary. But it does not provide a complete solution for other audio needs. I assure you the AudioXG group would have loved to adapt an off-the-shelf solution, but there was none to be had. Those involved in the group are extremely versed in today's audio solutions and needs. I trust they will come up with something useful. 

So please get involved with that group if you feel their work will not fit your needs.

The "junk that nobody needs" in the <audio> node was put there by more audio experts to deal with the vagaries of streaming media over the net. It was designed in the open with plenty of feedback. Again, if you have issues with it, join the group!


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