WebGL Support Begins to Arrive in WebKit | webOS Nation

WebGL Support Begins to Arrive in WebKit

by Jason Robitaille Mon, 14 Sep 2009 10:25 am EDT

Less than a week ago we discussed how perfect WebGL would be for the WebOS.  Aside from the similar names they're both built around web standards.  Well the stars must be aligning, because WebGL is back in the news, with a common connection to the WebOS: the WebKit core.

For those unfamiliar, WebKit is the opensource engine that renders all the WebOS apps and is what makes the website formatting on the Pre look so good. And while WebKit also powers many of the major web browsers out there (include the Android and iPhone browsers), the WebOS is virtually centered around it, so when news like this surfaces, we should pay some attention.

It appears Wolfire's blog has discovered traces of the WebGL in the WebKit, in the form of a 3D canvas element.  The results of initial layout tests can be shown in the above video, and is pretty impressive, all things considered.

The more I think about it, the more I believe Palm would be fools to not integrate WebGL into the WebOS.  It's such a perfect combo and it seems the WebGL component could be delivered to Palm via future WebKit builds anyway.  It's not unreasonable to believe Palm could adapt OpenGL for the WebOS Linux core, and leave the WebGL as frontend for developers.  That fits Palm's WebOS persona of hiding the Linux core and leaving the open web standards for developers.

WebGL isn't even in the in nightly builds yet, so if you want to try it out, you'll need to compile it freshly from the source.  It'll certainly be a while yet before it gets integrated in any browsers for the public, but once its out there, it would be incredible:

In the same way Gmail is killing desktop mail applications, full-fledged 3d video games could start migrating to the web.

Or in our case, possibly migrating to the WebOS.  I sincerely hope Palm integrates WebGL.  This new web standard is progressing fast, as if they don't act, you just know others will. Plus I'd really love to see the kind of OS-wide effects such advancements could have with added 3D functionality.