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9 Replies Latest reply: Apr 23, 2010 12:46 AM by 791266 RSS

Technologies for embedding 3D in a web browser

843799 Newbie
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I just spent a week trying to build a demo where I could click on a VRML object in one html frame and output data (ID, positionXYZ, etc.) about that object/node in the other frame. I was unable to get anything working. I swore to my boss it'd be easy to do. But I don't think it's possible at this point. There are a couple groups that offer EAI's, but they don't work. Really nasty stuff. Perhaps VRML is dead. I certainly didn't see anything like what I'm trying to accomplish in any of the millions of VRML demos I viewed online.

My question now is (assuming that VRML won't do what I need) what do I do? Where do I go. I feel I must jump into DirectX or OpenGL (or perhaps JOGL, Java3D, Xj3D, or whatever). What out there is viable? I really want to code high level, like VRML promises. Naturally, I really want to code Java, and not C++. It's my understanding that if I code OpenGL or DirectX, I have to write tons of code, and that something as simple as clicking on the object and getting its XYZ location would have to be coded FROM SCRATCH! Ouch. Anyone have any ideas.

I simply need to build an application, that will plug into a web page, that will render VRML (or whatever format, I can convert) and some basic interaction like getting ID and position and stuff. THAT'S IT! How hard can this be? Why no 3D standard for web? This is insane. 10 dukes for anything inspirational.
  • 1. Re: Technologies for embedding 3D in a web browser
    843799 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    I think some of the Java3D demo programs do pretty much exactly what you're trying to do. Take a look at them!
  • 2. Re: Technologies for embedding 3D in a web browser
    843799 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Yeah, but isn't Java3D unsupported (i.e. dead). That may not be so bad though, I mean if there's no standard, then there's no real GOOD choice. In any case, it will be something proprietary right?

    I just get the feeling that my boss is going to make me do low-level DirectX and ActiveX to plug-in to the web page (I'd almost rather die than do that) because DirectX isn't dead, and it IS a standard, at least for Microsoft.

    I just think my group will say it's too risky to do it in Java. And I just wish Sun would get off their butt and do something solid with 3D (it's been 8 years, you'd think they'd have figured it out by now).

    I realize there's JOAL and JOGL and Xj3D, but none of those are ready for real-world use, right?
    Am I missing something here? Is Java ready for RT3D or not?
  • 3. Re: Technologies for embedding 3D in a web browser
    843799 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Okay, since my posting I've learned that Java3D is not dead and that Sun has picked it back up! Also, JOGL is happening as well. That said, my choices appear to be limited to VRML and X3D due to project resources & time constraints. I'd check out Xj3D, but it's still early in development.

    At any rate, this thread went unanswered for the most part and that surprised me. It's interesting to me that almost nobody is doing 3D in web applications. It's been 10 years since VRML hit the scene and still seemingly no interest or application for the technology.

    Sure, you can take Java3D apps and plop them into an Applet, but I want to see integrated stuff. For example, I'd love to see a web page where the HTML communicated back and forth (via JavaScript, Applet, or whatever) to the embedded 3D. There's some technology out there to do this, but it's as if nobody is interested.

    So I guess at this point I'll offer the dukes to anyone who can find me demos (with code) of what I just mentioned above.
  • 4. Re: Technologies for embedding 3D in a web browser
    843799 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    search for EAI or SAI and VRML technology:

    Chris Marrin's draft proposal for the VRML 2.0 External Authoring Interface (EAI) provides 2-way communication between VRML worlds and external applications.

    Java applet establishes a link to a separate VRML world.
    VRML world sends model & user events to the applet.
    Applet sends user events to the VRML world.

    Franck
  • 5. Re: Technologies for embedding 3D in a web browser
    843799 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    I could be wrong, but i think you'll get some problem to run Jogl (that includes Xith3D) apps in a browser without signing the jar and opening another window. You may have a look at jPCT (http://www.jpct.net) which can do 3d in a browser and works with Java 1.1+. However, you are limited to software rendering in this case, because jPCT's OpenGL binding can't work in a browser too.
  • 6. Re: Technologies for embedding 3D in a web browser
    843799 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    search for EAI or SAI and VRML technology:
    I know all about the SDK's and EAI stuff available. The problem here is that you are no longer in the world of VRML standards. You are no longer cross-platform. And worst of all, you no longer have a choice for a viewer. When you use a company's SDK/EAI, you use their EVERYTHING. It won't run anywhere else.

    I guess I should have clarified that I was looking for a non-external solution.
  • 7. Re: Technologies for embedding 3D in a web browser
    843799 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    I could be wrong, but i think you'll get some problem
    to run Jogl (that includes Xith3D) apps in a browser
    without signing the jar and opening another window.
    You may have a look at jPCT (http://www.jpct.net)
    which can do 3d in a browser and works with Java 1.1+.
    However, you are limited to software rendering in this
    case, because jPCT's OpenGL binding can't work in a
    browser too.
    Well sure, any time you access the hardware resources directly, through a web page that is, you're going to have security issues. Again though, these are different technologies. I'm looking for a VRML solution.
  • 8. Re: Technologies for embedding 3D in a web browser
    843799 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Did you ever figure this problem out? I am stuck on the same basic issue. If possible could you share the code.
  • 9. Re: Technologies for embedding 3D in a web browser
    791266 Explorer
    Currently Being Moderated
    dcowden wrote:
    Did you ever figure this problem out? I am stuck on the same basic issue. If possible could you share the code.
    Please, don't resurrect old threads. Create a new thread if you have a specific problem. I'm locking this one.