News, thoughts, and other items of interest.

September 13, 2012     Online Help for WebShader

Added the beginnings of an online help for WebShader.  The help file itself will be filled out further over time, but the basics have at least been added.  When the help is activated through the main menu, it will be context sensitive and will automatically scroll to a topic based on the current editor window focus.

September 04, 2012     Recent Developments

Things have been rather quiet on the blog recently.  Partly because it has been summer, and it's hard to go rock climbing and program at the same time, but also partly because there's been some interesting developments that have been kept under wraps.  It's looking like our GPU Terrain Subdivision and Tessellation algorithm may be appearing in an upcoming printed publication.  Source code and a demo .exe will also likely be a part of this.  I'll post more details on this once they become available.

July 12, 2012     HTML5 App Cache

Started experimenting with the HTML5 App Cache API.  As with WebGL, browser support for this API can be a bit sketchy, especially with mobile browsers.  That said, users can now use the Guest WebShaderEditor account to use the WebShaderEditor while offline.  The gallery, as well as any user published scenes should also now support offline viewing, provided the App Cache was able to successfully load all necessary files.  For now, the status of the App Cache for the page is displayed on the left side of the page footer.

May 31, 2012     New WebShader Viewer

Testing the new publishing/viewer feature currently being added into WebShader.  Embed various scenes within a single web page, or view the scene within the entire browser window using the direct URL.  At this point, scenes can be modified and/or removed after being published.  Upload the desired image initially shown to the user.  Appropriate messages are displayed if the scene no longer exists, or if WebGL is not available on the client's browser, etc.  Publishing options will be available through non-guest accounts, and are accessed via the Properties window when the Scene Materials item has been selected in the Resource window.

May 10, 2012     New Gallery Scenes!

Added a couple of new scenes to the Gallery!  The Soap Bubble scene plays with reflection and refraction effects.  The Sea Bubbles scene was initially created to test some of the added functions to the WebShader script API and framework.  The scene uses various call-backs, and utilizes the variable get/set functions along with a new object rendering call to create the multiple bubbles.  Seemed to work out quite well!

April 27, 2012     WebShader Object Support

Added a new Objects section to the Resources dialog.  New objects can now be added, and the user can either supply a URL to an existing object, or upload their own objects to a scene (when logged in).  Drag and drop has also been extended in support of this feature.  At this point, only simple .obj geometry files are able to be imported.  A bunch of misc fixes were made throughout WebShader.

April 04, 2012     WebShader Editor UI Updates, Continued

We are continuing to build on the UI updates previously released, while maintaining a focus on supporting touch screen devices.  Finished adding new window resizing grippers, much improved touch based content moving and scrolling, and started adding a framework for internal drag and drop operations.  While this last feature is still in-progress, the user can currently drag a variable from the Resources/Variables window, and drop it onto the desired uniform in the Properties/Uniforms window.  Currently working on adding visual cues for the supported drop targets.  Lastly, added some fixes to the Editor and Gallery to support WebGL enabled versions of Safari.

March 13, 2012     WebShader Editor UI Updates

We recently updated the WebShader Editor UI to make room for some planned new features, and to better support touch screen devices.  While every effort was made to ensure there were no lingering issues, such as conflicts from old cached browser data, please clear your browser cache if things don't seem to be appearing correctly.

February 27, 2012     WebShader and Android

Was doing some experiments creating Android apps and utilizing the WebView control.  Was happy to discover that because my particular mobile phone already supports WebGL through the included Android browser, the WebView control also inherently supports WebGL.  Was then able to add various UI controls which were then used to change WebShader variable values through our newly added WebShader API.  Made a bunch of under-the-hood improvements to the WebShader API and scripting engine, including ensuring the call-backs are all made from a dedicated object scope.  This allows the user to share variables and other data or functions between the various call-backs, without having to worry as much about unintended name collisions.

February 16, 2012     User Interface Experiments

Experimenting with some new user interface ideas, being mindful of mobile and touch screen devices.  This is for both the general website, as well as possible integration into WebShader scenes.  Reorganizing the WebShader Editor user interface to make room for new features and capabilities.

January 30, 2012     WebShader Scripting Framework Enabled

To get things started with user programmable scripting, some call-back points were added into the engine.  At this point, the available call-backs are listed in the Editor combo box, and will update depending on the selected item in the Materials dialog.  A very sparse WebShaderAPI.js module has also been added, which will be filled out over time with appropriate access to the WebShader engine.  The very small function list can be viewed here.

January 24, 2012     User Programmable Scripting Support

Added user programmable scripting support into WebShader.  This will enable programmable interactivity within a WebShader scene.  This new feature will be included in the next WebShader update, which will hopefully happen within the next week or so.  Also fixed a few annoying tab related bugs in the shader/script editor window.

January 10, 2012     Happy New Year

Busy working on a handful of items here, including a number of proof-of-concept WebShader features that will continue to be developed and released over the course of the year.

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