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VRML Request For Information period
A two week RFI period is about to open for VRML (virtual reality markup language). This phase of VRML is only intended to cover object geometry and URL associations -- in other words precisely the stuff that OOGL + Tamara's VR module are intended to elegantly handle. -------------------------------------------------------------- From: mpesce at netcom.com (Mark D. Pesce) Subject: ADMIN: VRML List Goals To: www-vrml at wired.com (vrml) Date: Sun, 12 Jun 1994 21:40:26 -0700 (PDT) Goals of the VRML Mailing List This list has been established for a single purpose; to develop an open, platform-independent specification for a Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML). This language will be used in conjunction with WorldWideWeb to provide an standard to which viewer and editor applications and tools must be written. We are extremely pragmatic; although it is often expedient to develop standards away from public view, and then announce them, fully formed, by fiat, this is not the way that the Web or HTML have developed. Given their success, it seems reasonable to want to emulate them. We are starting out with some prejudices. First, we don't have any language prejudices; we are open to all proposals. We consider ourselves as starting from a position of ignorance, so we won't arbitrarily dismiss any proposal because we think we know better. The wider the net we can cast, the more successful our search for knowledge is likely to be. We feel, very strongly, that a solution which is proprietary, which is "owned" in any sense by a commercial organization, is unacceptable, and introduces complications greater than the task at hand. Therefore, as proposals are made and reviewed, remember that private solutions have a very poor history of success on Internet. Nevertheless, the strength of a commercial proposal might rely on what it can contribute to our own specification; we needn't steal from anyone's work in order to benefit from it. Finally, we feel it is important to establish a baseline specification in front of and with the support of the people most likely to be using it. To benefit from the thousands of years of experience within the subscriber base is one of the most compelling reasons for having a list at all. We wish to propose a process which we feel will result in the development of an effective, if bare-bones specification, by the first of August. The process has the following parts: 1) Request For Information Within the next day, a post will be made the list outlining the requirements for information on _existing_ languages which can fulfill the needs of VRML. We ask that you DO NOT MAIL TO THE LIST, but, rather, send mail directly to Brian Behlendorf (brian at wired.com), who will take the RFI traffic, compile it into a daily (or twice daily) digest, and post it to the list. We will give this process two weeks, from beginning to end. By then, all interested parties will have made their contributions to our search for information. This is just a request for information on existing languages; if we, as a group, decide to write our own, that process would occur after evaluating existing alternatives. We would prefer to avoid re-inventing wheels. 2) Languages Review We will be implementing HyperMail and WIT technologies on www.wired.com as quickly as we can. The responses from the Request for Information will be integrated with these browsing tools, and we will then enter a process of evaluation, as the relative merits of the various proposals are considered. We expect that only a few subscribers will contribute to this portion of the discussion, and that most will simply review it from the daily digest postings on www-vrml-digest. This is the time when the list traffic will be heaviest; very little can be done about this. If you wish to be actively involved in the formation of the specification, you have to expect to spend at least a few hours a week, during the review process, reading documentation and email. 3) Specification Drafting Finally, the review period complete, it should be possible to begin drafting a very basic specification. The first pass of the specification will not need to describe every possible condition within a virtual environment; it is enough to provide a static interface between the Web and three dimensional geometry. The first specification should concern itself only with the description of objects (including lights), and the scenes into which they are placed. An object has no other behavior than that it can serve as an anchor to another data source in the Web. The existing VRML specification, at the VRML Forum WWW page, covers most of this territory. It is not necessary to extend the scope of VRML functionality significantly from what has already been defined. A specification document will be drawn up and submitted for review. 4) Testing List members will begin to write VRML compilers, parsers, interpreters, and so forth, and will, from that, begin to have an understanding of the shortcomings of the initial design pass. This information will be used in the draft of a subsequent VRML 2.0 specification, which will also handle "active" environments, where objects can be both dynamic _and_ communicative. This process can be completed in the 7 weeks until the beginning of August, and there is good reason to be quick about it; we want to finish our our VRML viewer so that we can release it into the public domain, and actually have people begin benefiting from the fruits of our labors. We understand that this is possibly a more restrictive methodology than some of you may have expected. While an absolutely free discussion of ideas and techniques is a good thing, it is beyond the capacity of the more than 500 subscribers to this list. Our goal is to establish common ground quickly, and use that as a basis for future work, without becoming bogged down in procedural or prejudicial environments. Nonetheless, we actively invite you to organize yourselves, if there are specific areas of interest which you have a desire to focus upon. Thank you for your cooperation and support. Mark Pesce (mpesce at netcom.com) Brian Behlendorf (brian at wired.com) -- || * That's AL * WorldWideWeb ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/mpesce/pubs/index.html
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