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

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

Glenn Maynard

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