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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Visualisation of complex data

Spam architecture

I was catching up with mobuzztv today and caught quite a few things in the links, which I felt like sharing.

First up was a link to a guy who has made quite aggressive objects out of his email spam.

The images from the Spam Architecture series are generated by a computer program that accepts as input, junk email. Various patterns, keywords and rhythms found in the text are translated into three-dimensional modeling gestures.

Nice stuff, but I was thinking it would be great to see a real time view of this thing growing over days or weeks then bits getting lobbed off when he purges his spam folder. And this could easily be done with x3d, hey what ever happend to x3d? Anyway, it also seems Alex has a few projects based on visualising complex data like this one called Brecht, a VJ tool based on SQL queries.

Second through the gates, and on a simlar vein is shape of song

The custom software in this work draws musical patterns in the form of translucent arches, allowing viewers to see–literally–the shape of any composition available on the Web. The resulting images reflect the full range of musical forms, from the deep structure of Bach to the crystalline beauty of Philip Glass.

I don't what else to say but I would love to see these drawn using multiple colours and animated to the music. Which (with my remix head on) could be done using clever use of SVG. Do check out the Gallery to get a feel for what I mean.

Third but somewhat deserving to be last, Brian Eno and David Byrne offer all there song data from there latest album My life in the bush of ghosts under a creative commons licence. Great, and lots of people have already started remixing but there something I can't let go of so easily. Why wrap the whole damm site up in Flash! Its really fiddley and means I can't permalink to any of my favorate remixes or even copy the text for a blockquote. One word…. suck! Although the general idea is good. Shame its let down by some over the top flash wankery.

Oh quick plug for one my favorate blogs about information visualisation, information aesthetics. Now if only someone could make the link between information visualisation and real world remixing of xml and webservices.

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