Over the past couple of weeks the latest upheaval in VRML's often lively existence is taking place. For quite a while there has been a need and desire to create a sequel to VRML 97 (the current official standard). The dust has recently been kicked up thanks to a post on the www-vrml mailing list from Justin Couch post titled "So Long and Thanks for all the Fish" (you can get archives of the list at the Consortium) which was basically a farewell and good luck message. Justin is a very well know and respected contributor to VRML and many of his sentiments got folks talking (always a good thing).
Work on VRML-NG (X3D) was taking place. Requirements were gathered and solicited from the general community back around last August Siggraph 98 time. Apparently key contributors were solicited. This is all great! Unfortunately most of the community wasn't aware of exactly what was happening. Hopefully the lack of communications is past history.
One of the actions has been a long overdue set of communications from many of the key movers and shakers. Neil Trevett, President of the Web3D Consortium and Toni Parisi main VRML guy (Vice President, Business Development Internet Commerce Business Unit) at PLATINUM have both (thankfully) broken their silence about Consortium activities. No malice or bad intentions are assumed here clearly folks are busy, but a little more communications with the general community, as has been acknowledged can prevent loads of misunderstandings.
So enough verbal gyrations. Now what? The Consortium has decided that the next generation VRML will be called X3D. An early general set of requirements and a process for spec development are located at the Consortium web site (announcement , spec documents).
So what is X3D? As best as I can figure out so far it's going to use XML as the overall framework to integrate 3D graphics with the infrastructure of the Web. Rather that blather on about what will or will not be in X3D check the Consortium web site and HERE. As soon as things get clearer I'll be writing some explanations (as soon as I can find someone to explain it to me).
Well in less than a week it's off to Paderborn Germany for this years VRML fest. I'll be attempting to update a travelogue page to keep everyone informed of VRML99 events happenings and bier outings.
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