[whatwg] Web Applications and 3D

Jim Ley jim.ley at gmail.com
Fri Apr 29 07:55:52 PDT 2005

On 4/29/05, Matthew Raymond <mattraymond at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Jim Ley wrote:
> > Please do not re-invent the wheel, but standardise this (or a subset)
> > functionality.
> >
> > The supposed motivation of WHAT-WG is compatibility with IE6, VML and
> > DirectAnimation provide 2D and 3D drawing contexts that are
> > compatibile with Internet Explorer, use them, or start coming up with
> > some reasons why not to.
>    The examples I've seen with regard to DirectAnimation are done
> through an <object> and use an ActiveX control, so standardizing such an
> interface isn't appropriate. 

Could you explain why?  ActiveX is just the mechanism windows uses for
componentisation - WHAT-WG is already standardising things implemented
as ActiveX in IE.  If you're saying that the creation mechanism for a
3D canvas is wrong - there's something wrong with using OBJECT, and we
need to use CANVAS3D instead, then perhaps you might have a point, I'd
like to hear a lot more motivation for inventing new elements for
this, given the problems with new elements highlighted so often by Ian
and others.  However the creation is one minor part of the 3D API, and
it's the API I was talking about.

> We may want to be able to implement the "3d" context for
> <canvas> on top of DirectAnimation.

Could you describe why this might be a motivation, what do you see as
so lacking in the current implementation that it's not takeable as a

> > As always, I'm still waiting to hear the use cases for both 2D and 3D
> > javascript drawing  - "Quake like games" which is the only example
> > I've heard so far, may be a use case, but it's not yet been explained
> > why an HTML document is appropriate for such a game.
>    I've already suggested the use of 3D for previewing a custom ordered
> product such as a motorcycle.

All drawn in client-side javascript?  - remember the use cases I'm
looking for are not use cases for 3D, but for use cases for a 3D
canvas in a webpage, that has no state, and relies wholly on all the
information being drawn by javascript onload or later?

I do not accept that the above is a practical use case.

> Perhaps you
> want to see a 3D representation of the hotel room you plan to book. Same
> for real estate. If you're ordering a ticket from a concert, wouldn't it
> be nice to see what the stage will look like from your seat?
>    Need I go on?

Yes, because none of these are being addressed by a 3d drawable canvas
and a javascript API, the simple creation of any of these is not
appropriate to a programming language, they are all declaritive, and
the WHAT-WG individual has made it clear that a declaritive 3D
mechanism is not on the agenda.  If that is all that we get, then none
of those use cases will be fulfilled.

So I'm still searching for what use cases a javascript API to a 3D
canvas provides, it's been possible in IE since 1997, I've done lots
with it in that time, yet I've never come across a real wbe situation
that has used it - I used it once to write some very quick pages that
were 3D to be used on some notebooks at a trade show, back when
notebooks having 3D graphics cards was a selling point.


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