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Re: [Public WebGL] MIP rendering in WebGL (integration of EXT_blend_minmax)




You are correct. There has been a debate going on for a long time about WebGL and the platform it is used for. A lot of people - myself included - do not think it makes sense to artificially limit WebGL to the capabilities of mobile devices, even when it for example is used for visualization tasks on workstations with OpenGL 4-era featuresets. As you point out, WebGL's cross platform nature and out-of-the-box support and deployment is a huge advantage. One idea that has been floating around in several variations is some kind of "desktop" or "workstation" profile, which enables additional capabilities. Javascript code can check if such a profile is available.


On 2012-12-13 13:26, Sébastien Jodogne wrote:

Dear Gregg,

I'm not suggesting you shouldn't push for min/max blending. On the other
hand given < 1/3 of mobile supports it seems like you're likely to have
to wait for WebGL 2.0 which is easily 12-24 months away. So my point is,
there must be other creative ways to build the app you want to build
without waiting for that feature.

Thank you much for your feedback and for your outline of a technical solution!


As pointed out by Florian, I think that native support for min/max blending would have many direct applications. For this reason, I am convinced that WebGL should include this feature in future releases, for instance as an extension (for quicker release in cutting-edge browsers such as Firefox). According to this discussion, it indeed seems that my need is shared by a lot of developers. The iterative plane cast is at the same time slow and tricky when you come to the actual implementation... and it would not be very productive that several developers redevelop it from scratch all around the world.

From my point of view, WebGL is not only important for mobile devices, but also for any Web application that is accessed from standard desktop computers. WebGL is indeed fully cross-platform thanks to its use of JavaScript and to its out-of-the-box support in Firefox/Chrome. You just have 1 target to support as long as the GUI is concerned, which directly leads to huge economies of scale.

It seems to me that the potential of WebGL as a cross-platform tool for visualizing 3D scientific data is very important (think of medical imaging, CAD, physics simulation,...). As far as medical software is concerned, the emphasis is currently more and more put on Web-based solutions that are immediate to deploy in an homogeneous park of desktop computers. So, the weak proportion of mobile devices that may currently benefit from min/max blending should not hide the fact that almost any desktop computer can immediately benefit from it.

Cheers,
Sébastien-


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