Firefox, WebKit nightlies get WebGL support

When we picked Neil Trevett's brains about WebGL a few weeks ago, the Khronos President told us to expect initial implementations next year. Open-source browser developers are certainly not wasting any time getting started, though. CNet reports that early WebGL support has already made its way into both Firefox and WebKit nightly alpha builds.

According to Mozilla developer Vladimir Vukicevic, you can try out the early implementation for yourself by installing a Firefox trunk nightly, heading to the about:config settings page, and changing the "webgl.enabled_for_all_sites" preference to "true." Then, just head to this page to view an example of WebGL in a web page. Vukicevic says you'll "have the most luck" getting this working in Mac OS X or Windows with up-to-date OpenGL drivers.

The programmer had this to say on the progress of the implementation:

We still have some ways to go, as there are issues in shader security and portability, not to mention figuring out what to do on platforms where OpenGL is not available. (The latter is an interesting problem; we're trying to ensure that the API can be implementable on top of a non-GL native 3D API, such as Direct3D, so that might be one option.) But progress is being quickly made.

He also notes that the WebGL spec is "still in flux," but that it will "hopefully start to stabilize over the next few months."

Meanwhile, folks in the WebKit camp have been working on WebGL since early August, and an indie game developer has already posted a video of their implementation in action. Said developer adds that WebGL support isn't enabled by default in WebKit nightlies yet, but the functionality might find its way into Safari in as little as six months. (The WebKit engine powers both Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome.)

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