AfterDawn: Glossary

WebGL

WebGL stands for Web-based Graphics Library.

It is an application programming interface, based on OpenGL, to enable 3D graphics rendering in web browsers. WebGL is backed by Google, Mozilla and Apple, who are in the process of incorporating WebGL to their Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers.

WebGL is an open standard that will rival proprietary standards, such as Microsoft's Direct3D.

Since WebGL provides some low-level hardware access to web browsers (and also to to the web content they are loading), it has raised some security concerns in the industry, with Microsoft arguably being the loudest voice in opposition.

The Redmond-based firm argues that WebGL's security relies on too many external factors, such as the hardening of device drivers for video hardware. Vendors write their drivers for graphics cards with the assumption that only safe, local code will be able to access it. Microsoft has warned that WebGL has provided malware authors with a whole new way to attempt exploiting a computer from the web.

Still, the demand for feature-rich and more browser-based Internet content means WebGL will continue to be adopted, and eventually Microsoft is likely to follow suit with the Internet Explorer browser.

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