[whatwg] Web Applications and 3D

Jim Ley jim.ley at gmail.com
Wed May 4 04:40:09 PDT 2005

On 5/4/05, Matthew Raymond <mattraymond at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Jim Ley wrote:
>      Plug-ins are by their very nature optional. Why would we want to
> move functionality into <object> elements, which are by definition
> external objects like plug-ins?

OBJECT is not by definition a plug-in, and Opera/Mozilla/Safari/IE all
currently use native renderers to render OBJECT elements, there is no
reason why this should not continue.

>     How so? A "3d" context would undoubtedly have functions for loading
> complete textures and models from files. 

"Creating a 3D markup language is somewhat outside the purview of this 
working group"

> Even if you assume the files
> are huge and take an enormous amount of time to load, how is using a
> plug-in that much better for the user experience?

I've never made any comments about plug-ins, OBJECT does not imply
plugin.  The problem though is the very nature of creating javascript
API's to create scenes, rather than a 3D rendering language, if you
choose a 3D declaration language then the canvas API approach is not
appropriate either and a simple <img src="something.what3D"> (or maybe
object) is the appropriate method of creating a scene.

<canvas3d id="chicken"></canvas3d>
<script type="text/ecmascript">
var context=document.getElementById('chicken').get3ddrawingcontext();

Is simply bad, there's no rationale for all that extra indirection,
can I also remind you once again that the WHAT-WG individual has
"Creating a 3D markup language is somewhat outside the purview of this 
working group, though."
<URL: http://www.mail-archive.com/whatwg-whatwg.org@lists.whatwg.org/msg00726.html

your explanation of loading these external files, would require you to
create just such a markup language.  This is the problem I have,
without external files of any sort, then a 3D api is pretty useless,
the fact it's been trivial in IE since 1997, yet hasn't been used, I
think makes that clear.

>    If by declarative you mean like X3D, then WHATWG clearly shouldn't
> add such markup to HTML because it would duplicate the work of another
> group unnecessarily.

Just like it's not necessary to embed jpeg's inside HTML documents to
get images in them, it's not necessary to embed 3D markup inside HTML
documents to get 3D images.

>    If I'm reading this right, you're saying that no one uses
> DirectAnimation, and perhaps 3D in general, so why introduce a
> potentially competing standard when there's no real demand for the
> original? 

I'm asking for you to justify your use cases, for example implement a
mock one in some pseudo code, you will see very rapidly that for any
of them to work they require externally defined 3D models, defining a
3D model language is "somewhat outside the purview of this working
group". If you discover that you don't, then I will gladly concede
that your use-cases are practical.

As to the DirectAnimation, one of the "fundamental principles" of the
WHAT-WG is "features should be implementable using behaviors,
scripting, and style sheets in IE6 today" the only way to do that with
3D is to use a DirectAnimation layer, because of that, it makes
complete sense to just take the DirectAnimation API as a whole.


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