Is Microsoft Getting Ready to Embrace WebGL?

Pulkit Chandna

Microsoft has hitherto viewed WebGL as a security threat

Is Microsoft getting ready to ditch its earlier stance on WebGL (Web-based Graphics Library) ? If changes inside an early Internet Explorer 11 build are anything to go by then Microsoft’s opposition to the 3D acceleration standard could be on its last legs.

Already supported by four out of the world’s top five browser vendors — Apple, Google, Mozilla and Opera — WebGL is, according to its official Web page, a “a cross-platform, royalty-free web standard for a low-level 3D graphics API based on OpenGL ES 2.0, exposed through the HTML5 Canvas element as Document Object Model interfaces.” In other words, it enables hardware-accelerated 3D rendering right inside a supported browser without any plugin.

Microsoft has always viewed WebGL warily ever since a British security company raised an alarm about what it termed as "serious security issues" with the standard and its implementation.

"Our analysis has led us to conclude that Microsoft products supporting WebGL would have difficulty passing Microsoft's Security Development Lifecycle requirements," Microsoft said in June 2011 . "We believe that WebGL will likely become an ongoing source of hard-to-fix vulnerabilities. In its current form, WebGL is not a technology Microsoft can endorse from a security perspective."

But an early build of Internet Explorer 11 found inside a recently leaked build of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Blue (codename) update suggests that the company might be getting ready to embrace the WbGL standard . According to Web developer Francois Remy, he has discovered inside the leaked IE11 build a number of new features and some traces of WebGL . Although WebGL interfaces are defined in the build, they are not functional.

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