Firefox 4 release!

Firefox 4 is being released today and with it the realization of a promise made long ago.  It has been more than 4 years ago when we started our project on providing a JavaScript library c3dl.  It was named after Canvas3D the precursor to WebGL.  For those of you not familiar with WebGL, it essentially allows you to use hardware accelerated graphics in the web browser using OpenGL ES 2.0 api in JavaScript.

TL;DR version: fast 3D graphics in the browser!.

When we first started c3DL, Canvas3D was a plug-in (which was really odd because the whole idea was to be able to do 3D graphics in the web page without any plug-ins).  I remember explaining to people how Canvas3D will let people do 3D graphics in the browser without any addons…and that if they wanted to check it out they should go and download the addon for it.  We had tutorials on how to get the right browser, how to install the add-on how and test if you did everything correctly.   Even in pre-release versions of Firefox 4, WebGL had to be enabled in about:config.  Finally today WebGL just comes shipped with the browser.  All the things we have been working on are now viewable without plug-ins or changing any settings.  With Firefox 4’s release the number of browsers there are 2 browsers that come WebGL enabled.

Firefox 4 did more than just turn on a switch for WebGL.  It also came with some crazy enhancements to their JavaScript engine.  When c3DL first started, our first demo consisted of 4 spinning cubes.  It was really really boring.  However, one of the really odd things about it was that after a few seconds of spinning it would have this noticeable pause.  Basically a garbage collection pause.  Today this is gone for the most part.  The graphics made with WebGL has frame rates.

What to do with your shiny new browser:

sooo… now that you have got your new firefox 4 browser, what is there to do?  What is there to check out?  Here are some demos.  It is admittedly Seneca-centric featuring work developed by staff and students at Seneca.

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One response to “Firefox 4 release!

  1. It’s amazing how long we’ve been working on this. I just deleted my Minefield shortcut from my dock, it felt odd. I still don’t think I ‘ve comprehended the impact of it all 🙂

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