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RE: [xml-dev] When parsing speed matters (was Re: [xml-dev] NoXML Binaries? Buy Hardware)

Hi Stephen:

Like other XML languages, you can use XSLT to do the transforms into some
set of X3D-laden templates.  You could add a Java class for parsing values,
etc.  Otherwise, X3D is a scripted scene graph, a way to represent 3D
objects in nested finite coordinate systems.   To determine what you want to
do with it, you would want to look at the nodes that it can use to display
the content in the HTML.  Images, movies, buttons, menus, etc., can be done
that way.

As a general case, though, this is apples and oranges as far as large chunks
of text go.  Text is by its nature, flat 2D even though you can make
extruded 3D text.   3D is usually unwieldy for text not because you can't do
it, but because one seldom wants to look at the back of a line of text.

One way to think about the UI is that it is 3DGUI and ask what you do with
that and the answer determines a genre of 3D.  Simulating reality (virtual
reality) is qualitatively different from visualizing a 3D chart or an
abstraction of a piping system.  In social system applications, the UI is a
means of manipulating virtual proximity to objects of interest including
other users, a sort of UUI.  Dismissively, this is 3D Chat, but practically
speaking, that is a very powerful way to organize conversations in
real-time.   For example, the EVE application that Intergraph purchased from
a French company for the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority Public
Safety training simulator uses X3D/VRML and a commercial X3D browser to
drive their dispatch systems for distributed training applications.

IOW, the concept to wrap your head around is not display, per se, but real
time semantics of interaction, something the web is notoriously bad at, thus
loose coupling and REST.  BTW, VRML has been REST from day one (since before
that term was popular and it was just URI++).  Adding web services is just
now becoming a topic of discussion and then as a means of passing messages
communicating chat, state, etc.   One of the hard parts applications is
Multi-user worlds, or MU.  If you think about it, this is dragon-laded
territory where HTML apps don't tread but the 3D people have for a couple of
decades now.  Most of the time, authors of these have had to be network
engineers and get their hands deep into code that script kiddies don't often
go.  To make this easier, a Network Sensor is being added to the language.
The Media Machines company will be demoing that in a few weeks.  If you
happen to go to GDC, stop in at the Khronos booth and talk to them.

All of these genre overlap, but the extent to which one specializes as in
any other language determines the semantic specificity of the tags.

X3D is not a low-level graphics language where only geeks need apply.  That
would be OpenGL or DirectX.  One works in those to say, build a browser.
X3D is not a high-level language that provides a <car href=" /> tag, or as I
said, high level specific semantics.   A scene graph language has <transform
> tags that nest and contain other transforms and 3D objects such as indexed
face sets, boxes, spheres, scripts, and so on.   To build up a semantic
layer, one creates prototypes (protos) with eventIn/eventOuts, fields,
fields, and then groups of the other objects.  With a proto, one extends the
tag set.  So

<proto car />

then an instance 

<car >.

So the work is in the creating of libraries of protos for a semantic layer.
When one wants to do something like create analogs of other language
semantics, one writes protos.

The working group responsible for the language gets a steady stream of "add
this HTML or CSS analog" to the language and the response is usually, "write
a proto".  Like most coming from the common background, I thought that a
snotty response until I built ever more complex X3D/VRML worlds.  Then I
realized they were right.  The language is already in the sweet spot between
low level and high level languages.  The lower you go in a semantic stack,
the more work you have to do to create anything.  The higher you go, the
easier it is but the fewer things you can create.

As with questions posted here about XSLT, the best place to ask these
questions is on the X3D list, x3d-public@web3d.org.


From: Stephen Green [mailto:stephen.green@bristol.gov.uk] 

Can X3D or the like read XHTML, etc, I wonder. If it could/can, or something
like X3D, wouldn't that brighten things up a bit: Having a 3D representation
of all the XML languages and maybe the likes of CSS too?

So I'd go to a web site or XForms even or UOML (like PDF) page or ODF in
and my 3D GUI would make look all 3D, perhaps with the equivalent of CSS
appearing to control a bit how it does that, and interesting for the up and
generation. Add a kind of read/write to that, besides the usual Web2
and it gets to be a bit like the movies :-)

Sounds like it must be very doable though. This would be to our current
state of
art like colour photography was to black-and-white (I'm getting to like that

Of course it might all depend on the acceptance that it is more realistic
when you,
to try another analogy, add a binary XML bonet to the XML engine.

All the best

Stephen Green

>>> "Len Bullard" <cbullard@hiwaay.net> 05/03/07 23:23:50 >>>
Go to www.web3d.org.  The language to look at is X3D.  VRML97 is still being
used widely, but the new tools are for X3D.  One of the good things to be
said about ISO standards is tools stability.  The tools for VRML97 from ten
years ago still work and the tools just coming out work with the output from
ten years ago.  There are some amazing freebies out there.  I blogged a
tutorial for one last weekend.

See http://lamammals.blogspot.com for 3D On The Cheap.

Someone is also using the Web3.0 meme for 3D On the Web on a blog out there.

Will X3D be the language for the GUI?  Possibly.  At the very least, it is
the best deal going for the content makers in terms of getting the value out
of the content for long lifecycles.  We learned the hard way what happens
when a closed proprietary vendor for 3D goes kerplunkt.  3D is not cheap to
own unless the language stays stable.  The faddists get a bad shock when
they try to make standards.  SL and WoW do well and we are glad for them
because of all of the publicity they generate, but making standard languages
is a different kind of beastie.  A standard language for real-time 3D has to
work in more application domains.  That is why X3D has an object model as
well as a markup language and multiple profiles.  The generalized profile
(full immersive) isn't workable in some applications.

There are people working on 3D search but that is a really infant domain.
Some are just working on 3D search engines for the 3D content itself.
Others are researching the concepts of 3D itself as a means to organize
searching.  One hint is that with real-time 3D, you can have very strong
situation cues via proximity sensors.  One of the ways that rendering is
optimized for the P2P large scale simulations is to use the proximity to
cull events (you don't care if a car door closes and slams if you are ten
miles away).  This works nicely for the people doing city sims for apps like
homeland security.  It is also a way to optimize for handhelds.  As I posted
here a few years ago, the strong similarity of this to the emergent effects
of topical vector indexing are only now being realized.

For people who want to thresh where the wheat is still wild, this is it.


From: James Fuller [mailto:james.fuller.2007@gmail.com] 

ok, you are starting to open my eyes to this....though people tend to
understand in incremental steps...the problem is that I cant 'see'
going from the 4 hours I just spent making a slightly complicated 2D
html search form validate and return results properly using html, to
coding a full blooded 3d GUI/interface....perhaps I dont have enough
imagination...though I certainely can imagine pain; and I tend to
avoid it.

so 'where are the baby steps'...is there some vestigal markup language
here to lead us to 3d...I doubt it...it will be some 'fad' that brings
us there first (we will call it.....web 3.0 e.g the 3d web...get it,
get it...ugg).

give me some pointers where a perl / sometimes java programmer would
go as a first stop and I will perhaps fill that last slot of time I
still have free for 2007 to 'learn all about 3d'.

cheers, Jim Fuller


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