Behind you!

There have been quite a number of blog posts lately on the subject of WebGL, an embedding of OpenGL into web browsers.

I started trying to learn about this by reading the excellent article by Bartek Drozdz in .NET magazine. Of course, I wanted to put some of this into practice, and I noticed an add-in for IE  that is supposed to implement a large chunk of the WebGL specification. Unfortunately I couldn’t get this to work. In fact some of the documentation is wrong; for example, the WebHelper code is in a Scripts directory of the main site and not at the top level which is where the Javascript sample of the Developer page links to.

After another failed attempt to get it going in Firefox, I eventually settled on Chrome as the browser to use for experimenting with this stuff. At around the same time, I found the impressive tutorials at learningwebgl.com which take you through both OpenGL and how to use it via WebGL with code in Javascript. I’d not really used OpenGL before, but these tutorials are aimed at programmers in exactly this position, and they are really good.

There are, of course, security repercussions associated with exposing OpenGL to web pages. The attack surface is increased as clients can now target flaws in the device drivers, and attempt to get data off the graphics card which is associated with another operating system process. One security company has posted some initial work in the following blog posts here and here.

Microsoft has DirectX positioned as a competitor to OpenGL, and this blog post covers the history of the history of the development of these technologies and why they came about.

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