• HTML5 and 3D Internet: The Browser is now the ultimate Rich Client

    © W3C [CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons / © Joerg Osarek

    “HTML5 is the most dramatic step in the evolution of web standards.”

    John Esposito, 2011

    The web browser with HTML5 is going to be a disruptive technology. The reborn killer app is actually causing a revolution on the market . The cards are completely reshuffled. This has an enormous impact on apps, flash, silverlight, fat client applications and the game industry.

    The Yoc AG – europe’s biggest app producer knows that and recommends HTML5 (http://www.heise.de/tr/artikel/Die-App-ist-tot-1266330.html ) . Adobe knows that. That’s why they turn to HTML5 with their new product Edge. Microsoft knows that. That’s why they stop developing new versions of their silverlight runtime (http://www.heise.de/developer/meldung/Nach-mobilem-Flash-nun-auch-Bye-bye-Silverlight-1376260.html ). Finally Oracle knows it and announces a movement towards HTML5 with its Java project Avatar ( http://www.theserverside.com/feature/Project-Avatar-One-HTML5-Strategy-to-Rule-Them-All ).

    Many applications that traditionally remained on the local pc are moving to the cloud and offering a browser interface – e.g. video cutting software. With direct access to the graphics cards via WebGL browsers can now execute high quality 3D graphics without any plugins. This will revolutionize the game industry. Another trend helps here: With increased bandwith it is possible to stream games and only to display the video stream to the user – the game itself is executed on a powerful machine in a remote data centre. Mixed forms of this approach are being developed. e.g. by http://cloudmach.com/ who offer a WebGL mode and a remote calculated mode only transferring the video stream of the same game. So it shall be possible to have highest quality 3D effects even with a mobile device with fewer graphics power.

    We have already seen the rise of the 3D internet in the 1990s with VRML and the famous cosmo player browser plugin originally created by SGI. In 1998 I wrote my first database generated 3D world. But cosmoplayer was sold and it’s development was stopped. So this rising market fell down. Secondlife was a new hope. But with the subprime crisis Secondlife struggled as well. With HTML5 we see new frameworks, editors and applications all residing in the cloud. Maybe this time there will be a breakthrough for the 3D internet because there are no additional plugins necessary and the game industry is evaluating this platform for a new generation of browser games.

    But HTML5 is not only interesting for games but for all kind of so called web 2.0 / 3.0 / X.0 apps with rich client features. With this technology it is possible to combine everything in a new way and deliver it to the user with a simple hyperlink.

    Image: © W3C [CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons / © Joerg Osarek