WebGL specification 1.0 is final — and also, WebCL?

Khronos have just put a press release up on their site:

3rd March, 2011 – Game Developers Conference, San Francisco – The Khronos™ Group today released the final WebGL™ 1.0 specification to enable hardware-accelerated 3D graphics in HTML5 Web browsers without the need for plug-ins. WebGL defines a JavaScript binding to OpenGL® ES 2.0 to allow rich 3D graphics within a browser on any platform supporting the industry-standard OpenGL or OpenGL ES graphics APIs.

Hardly unexpected, but it’s great to see it finally come out. It’s worth noting that although they’ve done the PR, as of this writing the specification itself still says that it’s “Final Draft”. [UPDATE the official link for the spec is now https://www.khronos.org/registry/webgl/specs/1.0/. Googling for it currently turns up https://www.khronos.org/registry/webgl/specs/latest/, which still says "draft", but Khronos are working on that. For now, if you want to reference the draft, use the URL with 1.0 -- that's more specific and thus future-proofed anyway, I suppose.]

Particularly fascinating, however, is a line right at the end of the press release:

Khronos is also today announcing the formation of the WebCL™ working group to explore defining a JavaScript binding to the Khronos OpenCL™ standard for heterogeneous parallel computing. WebCL creates the potential to harness GPU and multi-core CPU parallel processing from a Web browser, enabling significant acceleration of applications such as image and video processing and advanced physics for WebGL games.

I know a lot of people have been hoping for that!

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16 Responses to “WebGL specification 1.0 is final — and also, WebCL?”

  1. Denis Rangel says:

    WebCL very good.

  2. giles says:


  3. Peter says:

    I feel like WebCL would be great for introducing developers to OpenCL. Sort of like a gateway drug.

  4. Lindsay Kay says:

    I’m really looking forward to using WebCL for things like kd-Trees

  5. Felix Wan says:

    Oh, WebGL final spec still doesn’t mention the full screen and hide cursor support.

  6. EWGL says:

    @Felix Wan

    Becuase it shouldn’t be part of of the Webgl spec. That is something that can be used in several other application.

  7. Felix Wan says:


    Maybe you are right, but I can’t find other spec talking about this kind of things. These two features significantly limit developers’ power to creating awesome FPS games.
    Correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks.

  8. Bo says:

    Full screen is quite easy to do. Hook up document.resize event and detect if window size is equal to screen size. If it is the case, then hide all other DOM elements (optional) and resize the canvas to cover the entire document. My game does this, press F11 in game will switch to screen mode.

  9. Felix Wan says:


    There are at least two concerns:
    1. ‘F11′ to full screen is a ‘fake’ one, if your pointer hit the top, there will be penalty.
    2. Technically, a true full screen may avoid the GPU to CPU read back if browsers’ accelerated compositing is not working.

  10. John Davis says:

    I’m thinking geometry shaders on steroids. This is gonna be great!!!

    Hopefully we can get this one out fast.

  11. Bo says:

    I am actually happy about the confined environment of WebGL and JavaScript. Yes there will be penalties, but IMO the single biggest penalty is JavaScript itself. Each platform has it’s strengths and weaknesses. In this case the ease of use safety and stability. If a poorly written website can lock up system, then we are going back to the horrible old days. In other words, WebGL as it is has it’s own targeted audience. If you set your expect wrong, maybe you should look at some other way to make your application, like a Compiled C++ using OpenGL or DirectX.

  12. [...] as is noted here, there is a small paragraph slipped into the end of the press release that offers even greater hope [...]

  13. giles says:

    @Bo — WebGL generally can lock up a browsing machine, though — right? I don’t see WebCL making it any worse. And the ability to hide the cursor — and ideally, also lock the mouse pointer (subject to appropriate authorisation from the user, naturally) — could lead to some big improvements in point-to-look interfaces for FPS games. I don’t think there would be any harm in adding them. No rush, though — the spec authors were right to exclude that kind of thing from WebGL 1.0.

  14. Pl4n3 says:

    Yes, fullscreen and mouse-lock are needed for fps-games, but not necessarily within the WebGL spec. I once have read about a Mozilla Fullscreen Api (https://wiki.mozilla.org/Gecko:FullScreenAPI). Such should eventually become a standard for all browsers.. Mouse-Lock should also be possible someday, but I’m not aware of any upcoming api’s :/ It seems that with Flash Molehill mouse-lock is possible, hopefully its soon available for html5/html6 too.

  15. 3droberto says:

    WTF webCL
    What more is needed? :D ¬

  16. giles says:

    3droberto — for example it would make it easier to do real-time physics in the web browser, which would help for certain kinds of games.

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