Apple's WebKit Team Proposes W3C Community Group to Strive for More Powerful Graphics on the Web

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Apple's WebKit team today proposed a new Community Group at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) focused on discussing the future of 3D graphics on the web. The goal of the group is to lead to development of a new Web API that would better prepare web browsers to take advantage of modern, and future, GPU technologies on a variety of platforms.


On the WebKit blog, Apple's Dean Jackson says new software APIs "better reflect" modern GPUs, but that many of the major ones -- Direct3D 12 from Microsoft, Metal from Apple and Vulkan from Khronos Group -- aren't available on all platforms. While the success of the web requires common standards, Jackson argues, these platform-specific APIs make following a single API, like OpenGL, impossible in the future.

Instead, Apple's WebKit team is proposing that a new standard is needed. The new standard needs to provide a "core set of required features," an API that can be implemented on a variety of platforms with different system technologies, sitting on top of technologies like Direct3D, Metal and Vulkan, and the security and safety required for the Web.

While being a new open standard that's compatible with platform-specific technologies, Apple says the new standard must also be easy to to adopt, "expose the general-purpose computational functionality of modern GPUs," and work well with emerging standards like WebAssembly and WebVR.

Apple's initial proposal, which it calls an experiment, is "WebGPU." Apple says WebGPU started out as a mapping of Metal to JavaScript, and some graphics programmers are calling the proposal "Metal on the Web." Apple says it doesn't expect WebGPU to become the actual API in the new standard, but it does think there is "a lot of value" in its prototype.

Jackson says that WebGPU is much more object-oriented than WebGL, which is why Jackson says grants WebGPU its efficiencies. For instance, WebGPU handles "states" differently, reducing the work needed before a drawing operation.

The WebKit team will share its prototype with the Community Group, and is also inviting everyone with interest or experience in GPU web technologies to join the group.

Article Link: Apple's WebKit Team Proposes W3C Community Group to Strive for More Powerful Graphics on the Web
 

Jakexb

macrumors 6502a
Mar 18, 2014
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It is fascinating that there's already snarky comments about this.

The fact the Apple, who makes a ton of their money from a closed app store, is pushing for improvements to web standards is really encouraging news.
 

Bustycat

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Jan 21, 2015
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Kaohsiung, Taiwan
How about striving for more powerful graphics on your computers, Apple? Total War: Warhammer, Hitman, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided are all ports Feral is putting on pause until Metal becomes usable.
Blizzard even stopped developing Overwatch for macOS because of outdated OpenGL and poorly-functional Metal. Apple, however, said Macs are really good for gaming. #AlternativeFacts
 

commander.data

macrumors 65816
Nov 10, 2006
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webkit.org/blog said:
The major platform technologies in this space are Direct3D 12 from Microsoft, Metal from Apple, and Vulkan from the Khronos Group. While these technologies have similar design concepts, unfortunately none are available across all platforms.
While I'm not one of those who are annoyed that Apple developed their own proprietary low-level graphics API in Metal, it's ironic that Apple points to there not being a single API available across all platforms as a problem when the reason that's the case is because they choose not to implement Vulkan which is available everywhere else.
 

MH01

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Feb 11, 2008
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Good concept , though apple computers have to have the worst GPUs in the industry, this should be an interesting thread
 
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szw-mapple fan

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Jul 28, 2012
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We have 3 standards the solution is a 4th standard. :D
Which part of "sitting on top of technologies like Direct3D, Metal and Vulkan" makes you think this would be a new standard? It seems like something that would unify the user experience by utilizing currently platform specific standards.
 

WarDialer

macrumors member
Nov 22, 2015
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San Jose, CA
How about getting caught up with every *other* browser and support things web devs actually need like i18n, ES6 (like, all of it) instead of gimmicky GPU acceleration?
 

mw360

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Aug 15, 2010
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Which part of "sitting on top of technologies like Direct3D, Metal and Vulkan" makes you think this would be a new standard? It seems like something that would unify the user experience by utilizing currently platform specific standards.
Sitting on top of diverse technologies and unifying the interface, is pretty much the definition of a web standard. Which is probably why this is being raised at the W3C, the organisation which develops web standards.
 
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M2M

macrumors 6502
Jan 12, 2009
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Just make a useable Vulcan / OpenGL implementation or make a Metal -> WebGl layer. Problem solved. Don't think another "stabdard" helps
 
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Theway400

macrumors newbie
Dec 24, 2016
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Excellent! Another way to kill the battery on my laptop. Hardware accelerated CSS already puts safari in high performance graphics mode... might as well add more powerful 3D crap floating around the screen using up all my juice.

:)
 

MrChurchyard

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Sep 22, 2008
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How about getting caught up with every *other* browser and support things web devs actually need like i18n, ES6 (like, all of it) instead of gimmicky GPU acceleration?
Safari 10 is literally the only browser that implements the ES6 specification in its entirety, and apparently the ES i18n API has been implemented in its entirety in v10 as well. (I remembered v9, which did not/had only partial support).
 
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Garrod

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Nov 13, 2008
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Excellent! Another way to kill the battery on my laptop. Hardware accelerated CSS already puts safari in high performance graphics mode... might as well add more powerful 3D crap floating around the screen using up all my juice.

:)
It's a laptop. Expect to plug it in sometimes if you have to use it.
 

Garrod

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Nov 13, 2008
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You're aware that laptops are actually "laptops" for the exact opposite rationale...?

billy_madison_no_points.mp4
That is nonsensical - if they are being used then they will need charging beforehand. If they are being used in any capacity the battery will drain.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
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Isn't what Apple describing essentially just THREE.js? It's a higher level, object oriented library that lets you do 3D graphics on the web without actually knowing everything about WebGL. If WebGL isn't available on your browser, I think there's some alternatives it can fall back on...