[x3d-public] Call to Progress on X3D V4

Leonard Daly web3d at realism.com
Sun Jan 10 22:04:57 PST 2016

Last week I sent a message to the X3D WG about my concerns on lack of 
progress for developing a V4 specification. This message is expanding 
the reach of the original message and providing additional requested 
material, specifically examples of situations where I would want and/or 
expect X3D to run in a browser. The list of examples is being expanded 
as developments occur.

The marketplace is making significant progress in commercialization of 
virtual and augmented reality. There is no standard format for 
expressing 3D content. The marketplace will choose at least one format 
and it will not likely be X3D.  Already there are alternative markup 
languages emerging that attempt to do what X3D has been doing for 
decades: create an HTML like language for 3D graphics.  GLAM is an 
example proposed by Tony Parisi, and most recently Mozilla’s A-frame, 
released 3 weeks ago, both attempting to speak in the language of web 
developers to bring VR/AR to the browser.

I am very frustrated in the lack of progress of the Working Group in 
developing a specification for X3D V4. There are number of issues that 
have been raised about the fundamentals of designs of X3D that appear to 
be incompatible with an HTML/DOM environment. A partial list includes 
the following:
  * name-scope handling
  * scripting
  * interfaces to the nodes and fields through the DOM API
  * event handling
  * profile structure and contents
  * newly supported formats (geometry and media)

Examples of X3D/X3DOM: http://tools.realism.com/x3d-v4-issue-examples
There are other concerns about event model that are not expressed in 
these examples mostly due to being unable to create an example that 
clearly shows the problem. It does exists and you may see some of that 
in sporadic or jerky movement in the animation examples using X3DOM.

I have a concept specification that is getting updated at 
http://tools.realism.com/specification/x3d-v40. The was first sent to 
the X3D WG in November and has had a couple of other discussions.

My specific technical concerns with the specification are listed in the 
Author's Notes at 

Most importantly, it is not clear to me who the WG believes is the 
target audience for the specification and how the specification will 
meet that audience’s needs.

As Co-Chair on Sabbatical and current member of the WG, I need to take 
some responsibility for not getting there. I have been working on 
developing a new specification and the beginning of an open-source 
web-based application for building scenes in the new specification. The 
web application is called “Basx3D - 3D the HTML Way”. I have posted an 
article about it’s initial release - http://realism.com/blog/basx3d. 
This post and one describing the X3D V4 proposal are publicly available.

The application is targeted at web developers who do not need to know 
the details of creating an X3D by hand. The concept was based on Unreal 
Engine and Unity editors. I will be continuing development of both the 
application and proposal on a frequent and regular basis. Basx3D and the 
proposed specification function as a two-way development effort with 
Basx3D reflecting the proposal and providing implementation information 
and experience back to the specification.

Although outside of its scope, the WG must be aware of the audience to 
which the standard is written, and the audience to which the standard is 
being promoted.  This concept is crucial to the future adoption of X3D 
and should ultimately be agreed upon by the BOD, but the WG needs to 
understand and follow this strategy which will ultimately influence 
prioritization of WG activity.

I am firmly committed to an open, royalty free, ISO ratified standard 
that communicates 3D data and its behaviors over networks, especially 
the dominant global network which is the internet, and which universally 
supports HTML5.  I don’t want to see the decades of work and passion 
that have been invested in the standards maintained and promoted by the 
Web3D Consortium relegated to the corridors of obscurity.  Because of 
many trends in software and hardware, a nexus of opportunity has been 
created like never before of which we can take advantage to catapult the 
Consortium’s standards to significant global adoption.  Let’s not miss 
this chance!

Leonard Daly
Basx3D and X3D V4 Specification Proposal Author

In Full Support
Mike Aratow
Treasurer, Web3D Consortium

*Leonard Daly*
X3D Co-Chair
Cloud Consultant
President, Daly Realism - /Creating the Future/

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