Friday, February 14, 2014

WebGL on Second Thought and a Brief Note on OpenGL ES 3.0

This is a brief note to say that after all the sturm und drang expressed on this blog while learning WebGL 1.0, that it has become my favorite way to write little graphics programs.

I now realize that it is very unusual to be able to do anything dynamic in HTML/Browsers without always having to deal with the server for information. And yet I am able to write very complicated WebGL (or at least reasonably complicated) WebGL programs without using the server at all (except for saving images).

The "framework" mess in writing "dynamic web pages" for browsers is astounding, but I would not necessarily count on finding a framework that worked well with WebGL. Such a thing may in fact exist, but it is far outside the normal range of what the frameworks are intended (and tested) for.

Even Javascript has grown on me such that it has become a pleasant language to write in.

I think this is moderately funny given the amount of noise I made learning these two things (javascript development and WebGL).

On a related matter, I spent a half day or so reading the specification of OpenGL ES 3.0 and it is far different from WebGL 1.0, no matter what you hear. Although the shading language part is nearly identical, the OpenGL part is richer in capability. OpenGL 4.x, however, upon reading is vastly more complicated and a completely different beast.

So the takeaway information of this post is: WebGL is very useful if a little annoying to learn, and WebGL is remarkably different from OpenGL ES 3.0. The power of WebGL comes from its shader language, its integration into the browser and HTML, and the interactive nature of Javascript and Javascript development.

I apologize for lapsing into optimism and a positive attitude in this post.   I will no doubt resume my normal negative approach in future posts.

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