What the heck happened to x3d?


Well it would seem the x3d community blog has the answer to my question.

5-10 years ago people were touting that it would only be a matter of time before everyone started building 3D web sites just like they were building HTML pages. What happened? Is it that 3D on the web failed? Or is it that many of us didn''t really understand that the Web is a much bigger and more diverse place than HTML pages? X3D, particularly in it's XML incarnation, is actually growing very very rapidly on the web. But it's not growing as HTML pages – it is growing as real XML-based applications that demand serious technical chops to develop

That maybe but come on, your telling me the x3d guys don't want people to mashup realtime data and api's into something x3d? Then looking back a little longer, I found this gem.

OK, so we've spent like 5 or 6 years moving from VRML to X3D…what's the point! Visually the advanced VRML browsers compete pretty well with X3D browsers but it's time to make the XML magic really appear.

Sandy suggestions some implementations and boy oh boy are they run of the mill. No disrespect but there pretty boring and if I saw these, I would shake my head in shame. Recently I've been very much into the visualisation of complex data and honestly I think via some very clever use of x3d you can generate something actually very useful. Lets do a better example. Take Digg data and boy oh boy you could do some very clever things to map whats hot and whats not. Through transparency and using the zindex it would be possible to show existing stories from days before and maybe there peaks. It would be like a landscape of stories with there digg totals in yindex (height), date in the zindex (distance) and maybe relvents or grouping across the xindex (across). Using your mouse you could hover over one and things would open up a little to show you more details of that story. Alright maybe my example isn't much better but at least its not your usual 3d on the web stuff.

I'm dying to try out some of this X3D stuff via XSL and the cocoon framework. I'm thinking about the fun I use to have with Povray and what I can currently do with XSL and XML. And I have done stuff with VRML and Javascript in the past, so I should be able do something quite interesting with a little time. I did download a X3D viewer the other day but only tried out the sample files.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.