How cool is WebGL? Check out this demo

November 28, 2011

In case you haven’t heard, Flash may very soon be dead. Adobe has said they won’t develop new mobile versions of their malignant multimedia middleware and the rest of the planet is moving quickly to port their existing web apps, video and animations to the nascent HTML5 standard.

WebGL (Web-based Graphics Library) is a software library that extends the capability of the JavaScript programming language to allow it to generate interactive 3D graphics within any compatible web browser. WebGL code executes on a computer display card’s Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which must support shader rendering — Wikipedia

The Next Web was out browsing the web and came across Lights, a demo of WebGL that looks and acts a lot like an iTunes visualizer, pulsing and reacting to the music.

Moreover, move your mouse and a string of sparkling light will follow the cursor. Clicking on balls that appear later in the demo results in eruptions of light.

Perhaps not the stuff of a top shelf first-person shooter, but it’s a clear step down the road to a Flashless future where plugins, and all the related stability, security and performance issues, are a thing of the past.

I tested “Lights” in Safari 5.1, Firefox 9 and Chrome 15, and each played it back smoothly on my 2007 iMac running OS X Lion 10.7.2 — competent, though not stunning. If you’ve got a newer, more capable Mac or PC, I rather imagine performance will be orders of magnitude better.

Give it a go and share your impressions below…

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