Some Mozilla Minefield updates

Benoit Jacobs writes to mention some cool stuff that has landed in Minefield recently; some of this is really useful, in particular for testing your WebGL stuff against different rendering engines.

  • A new about:config setting, webgl.force_osmesa. If you set this to true, and make sure that webgl.osmesalib is set, then you will use software rendering even if WebGL doesn’t need it. This is a good way to find out if your content will be visible to people using software rendering. (The old setting webgl.software_render was actually ignored if your OpenGL version was able to support WebGL, which made it pretty useless…)
  • Texture handling has been updated in Minefield so that if better matches the specification; previously it was quite forgiving (Chrome wasn’t so kind) and allowed you to use textures that weren’t really valid from a WebGL viewpoint. Now it doesn’t, and non-compliant textures will be rendered in black. If you’ve found that your WebGL demos have suddenly started appearing in black, you should check the error console: if the cause of the problem is this change, you’ll see an error message saying “A texture is going to be rendered as if it were black, as per the OpenGL ES 2.0.24 spec section 3.8.2, because it is a 2D texture, with a minification filter not requiring a mipmap, with its width or height not a power of two, and with a wrap mode different from CLAMP_TO_EDGE.”

While looking at the first of these settings, I also noticed a couple of other WebGL-related changes have appeared in Minefield’s about:configwebgl.shader_validator is, of course, now true by default. However, there’s also a webgl.verbose. I haven’t tried using it yet, but I believe this switches on more detailed WebGL error messages, which could well be useful for debugging. Any comments from people who’ve been using it would be much appreciated!

[UPDATE] Benoit has left a comment that is well-worth repeating as-is:

The preference webgl.verbose is to enable WebGL error messages. These were previously shown by default, and are now hidden by default. Thus, if you were wondering why you’re not seeing any error messages anymore, that’s because they’re now hidden by default.

By the way, in Minefield nightlies, the whole Error Console is now hidden by default. Enable it by setting devtools.errorconsole.enabled to true and restarting Minefield.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “Some Mozilla Minefield updates”

  1. Benoit Jacob says:

    The preference webgl.verbose is to enable WebGL error messages. These were previously shown by default, and are now hidden by default. Thus, if you were wondering why you’re not seeing any error messages anymore, that’s because they’re now hidden by default.

    By the way, in Minefield nightlies, the whole Error Console is now hidden by default. Enable it by setting devtools.errorconsole.enabled to true and restarting Minefield.

  2. giles says:

    Thanks, Benoit! That clarifies things nicely.

  3. Sagi says:

    I’m using Minefield nightly builds and with the latest version 4.0b7pre (released 09-16-2010) WenGL doesn’t work (at least for me).

  4. Benoit Jacob says:

    Sagi: did you enable webgl? Go to about:config and set webgl.enabled_for_all_sites

  5. Sagi says:

    Yes, webgl.enabled_for_all_sites is true (by default)
    i even set webgl.verbose=true and even devtools.errorconsole.enabled=true
    but I can’t see webgl content and I don’t get any error in error console.

  6. Pete says:

    Hi giles

    love your blog so much.

    Some questions:
    1. I’m planning to use WebGL doing some data visualization. It’s like, use some sphere to represent some data clusters, and some lines to show the connections between them.
    I’d like to explore some framework/library to simplify the work. And recommendation for me to start with?

    2. I used to work with Firebug to debug the code. But as you know, the Nightly build or FF4 don’t support any Add-ons including Firebug. How do you debug javascript for webgl?

    Thanks a lot!

  7. giles says:

    @Sagi — which OS and graphics card are you using?

    @Pete — thanks! (1) SceneJS is probably the best best, though GLGE might also help out. (2) I use Chromium — its JS console is as good as Firebug.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow Learning WebGL on Twitter