Windows Blue leak reveals evidence of WebGL support in IE11

The early Windows Blue build that was leaked to the Internet last weekend has revealed some of the plans Microsoft has for Internet Explorer 11 . Those features include tab syncing, a downloads list feature for the Modern version and more.

Now there's some evidence that IE11 might have support for something that a lot of web creators have been hoping would be added to the web browser: WebGL support. The discovery was mentioned in a blog post this week by web developer Francois Remy who wrote:

I didn’t get webgl working, even by trying using iesl, hlsl and other combinations. So, it seems like WebGL interfaces are defined but not functional at this time.

So what does this mean? Basically, the IE team at Microsoft have put in some programing that could be used to support WebGL but that the actual full support has not been implemented; WebGL is supported by Google's Chrome browser.

This is significant because in 2011, Microsoft went out of its way to state that putting WebGL support in Internet Explorer was too great of a security risk. However, other web developers feel that IE has suffered due to its lack of WebGL support and as a result some web-based games and other apps can run slower in IE compared to Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox.

The fact that Microsoft is at least putting in some code in IE11 that could be used to implement WebGL might mean that the company is keeping all bets open at this point, although the final version of IE11 could be released without WebGL.

Source: Francois Remy's blog | Image via Context Information Security
Via: CNet.com

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31 Comments

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WebGL is web API for 3D, accessed via JavaScript, and based on Open GL ES 2.0.

Direct2D and DirectWrite are native Windows APIs, which are not available on the web platform.

They are not comparable, because you can not use Direct2D and DirectWrite on web sites.

eddman said,
Are there any advantages in using webGL instead of direct2d and or directwrite?

Can you use Direct2D and DirectWrite on the web? No.

SharpGreen said,

Can you use Direct2D and DirectWrite on the web? No.

Uhm IE9/10 use DirectWrite to render pages. So yes you can by coding in normal HTML.

Shadowzz said,

Uhm IE9/10 use DirectWrite to render pages. So yes you can by coding in normal HTML.

That's not the same, as using WebGL to do something, like same a game or something.

i think it gets 327 (7 points more than ie10).

That site might need to be updated to detect things properly though. I'd bet a low of money that the final version will get atleast 370 points. They increased their score dramatically from ie9 to ie10 in 18 months ish so if windows blue ships with ie11 in a few months then it will be 12 months later. Plenty of time to add some nice new html5 standards.

Ah thanks, I'm a Firefox user and they seem to be increasing their score slowly lately, opera and chrome have over taken them

zikalify said,
Ah thanks, I'm a Firefox user and they seem to be increasing their score slowly lately, opera and chrome have over taken them
Don't forget that the score is quite arbitrary. Firefox 19, Chrome 25, and IE 10 all score 20 in Audio for example, yet Firefox has two dings against it (AAC and MP3), Chrome has one ding against it (Ogg Opus), and IE has four dings (PCM, Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Opus, and WebM).

Surprisingly, WebGL isn't even scored. The thing where Chrome really dominates is on the elements support (HTML5 inputs, like the HTML5 date calendar or color chooser). I hope that IE11 catches up there, which should also force Firefox's hand, so that web developers start to use them more commonly. Some sites are finally starting to use input[type='email'], which enables onscreen keyboards to show context aware keys (e.g., "@" and ".com" appear on the standard keyboard). The best part is that if the browser doesn't understand them, they fall back to a plain textbox.

pickypg said,

Surprisingly, WebGL isn't even scored.

Not that surprising when you consider the fact that WebGL isn't a part of HTML 5 and, in fact, isn't a W3C standard at all...

html5test is not the standard conformance test for HTML5. It tests even those features which are under review and haven't even made up to W3's Candidate Recommendation. IE10 has all the W3C Recommendations and many Candidate Recommendation and above standards implementations covered. Try using the test-beds provided with each W3C specifications.

If you are unsure what's wrong with the premature standard implementation (where your beloved Chrome is headed to win the numbers), checkout what happened with CSS3 gradient http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/arc...css3-gradients-in-ie10.aspx. The websites which are using draft implementation of gradient would keep having the garbage code and the companies like Google (who are in the business of user privacy-harvesting-and-selling) would keep supporting non-standards in their browsers forever. They will do anything to attract users and give away everything for free, and now you know why!

PS how to make billions by offering all the products for FREE?? Ask Google.

JonathanMarston said,

Not that surprising when you consider the fact that WebGL isn't a part of HTML 5 and, in fact, isn't a W3C standard at all...

And JavaScript isn't a part of HTML5 (Neither is CSS actually), and it isn't even managed by the W3C either!

JonathanMarston said,
Not that surprising when you consider the fact that WebGL isn't a part of HTML 5 and, in fact, isn't a W3C standard at all...
Well, yes. But a lot of things on the test are not part HTML 5, like MP3 support.

WebGL requires at least OpenGL 2.0. Does it means that they updated default OpenGL-to-Direct3D wrapper, or they built new in IE11?

They'll probably just re-direct WebGL calls to DirectX API's so there is no loss of performance - end of the day the back end can be software or hardware accelerated, OpenGL or something else but the outcome will be the same for the end user and developer regardless.

I guess the WebGl support may be limited to Windows Store apps (for projects based on html/js).

or at least, require user interaction to enable webGl content on unknown sites, because there are still many potentially vulnerable GPU drivers out there.

on iOS, apple has included webgl support, but only for ads, not in web browser.

link8506 said,
I guess the WebGl support may be limited to Windows Store apps (for projects based on html/js).

or at least, require user interaction to enable webGl content on unknown sites, because there are still many potentially vulnerable GPU drivers out there.

on iOS, apple has included webgl support, but only for ads, not in web browser.

would be kinda dumb to limit it to an area that has access to DirectX directly... why would you make a html/js app when you can make a directx app?

WDDM 1.2 in Windows 8 has support of isolation of tasks on GPU, may be they would allow WebGL only with such drivers.

Source of news wrote about WebGLRenderingContext object in the browser, so your speculations are irrelevant.

neufuse said,
why would you make a html/js app when you can make a directx app?
To enable simpler cross platform support.

neufuse said,

would be kinda dumb to limit it to an area that has access to DirectX directly... why would you make a html/js app when you can make a directx app?

writing a C++/D3D app requires a different set of competence than JS/WebGl.

now XNA (the easy way to create 2d/3d apps using c#) is gone and no longer supported in windows 8 store apps, it would make sense to allow webGL to devs who don't want to mess with c++.
unfortunately, that still leaves .net devs in the dark.

anonymf said,
WDDM 1.2 in Windows 8 has support of isolation of tasks on GPU, may be they would allow WebGL only with such drivers.

thought about this too, but not 100% sure.


Source of news wrote about WebGLRenderingContext object in the browser, so your speculations are irrelevant.

you seem to ignore that Windows8 apps made using JS and html5 use nothing more than an hosted IE component.

so if MS wants to implement WebGl support in win8 apps, it makes sense to implement it in the IE codebase, even if the use is denied in the web browser itself.

mychaelo said,
Frowned upon by general public, but innovative and setting the foundation for the next version's huge success.

Rather "Surrounded by FUD generated by faux techies, but innovative and setting the foundation for the next version's huge success."

MrHumpty said,

Rather "Surrounded by FUD generated by faux techies, but innovative and setting the foundation for the next version's huge success."

So what's different from Vista?

End of the day the future of Microsoft is their service devision and if it means that Microsoft can deliver services to end users that are feature rich for a reasonable price and accessible on Windows or OS X then Microsoft is going to make long term sustainable profits long term especially when you consider how well cloud computing can scale profit wise after the initial datacenter investment. What I think will be interesting is where Windows will fit in Microsoft in 10+ years time when the main cash cows will become their enterprise server and middleware, online services, XBox and other products; will Windows merely become a means to an end (sell more services) rather than an ends in and of itself.