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Internet Browser Programming Languages

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Hey guys, i am developing a piece of software that is aimed at the realestate market. It is quite unique, and it requires a 3D language that loads maps/models in an internet browser. I'm deciding which programming language to use. I know java is one of my options. I am wondering about the following things: 1) what other in browser programming language options do i have? 2) what prebuilt and opensource engines can i use? 3) is it possible to integrate c++ into a webbrowser? 4) any other information you could give me (sry i can't disclose any more information, i just don't feel comfortable doing so. I'm sure you'll all understand) [Edited by - acidwillburnyou on September 29, 2006 9:23:31 PM]

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Online Real Estate with 3d graphics?

If it has to be web-based, Java might be the best option.
You can try the Unity engine too.

Depending on the level of realism needed, you can also consider Flash and/or VRML (I think there's a new standard for VRML now, but I cannot recall what it is)

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Quote:
Original post by acidwillburnyou
Hey guys, i am developing a piece of software that is aimed at the realestate market. It is quite unique, and it requires a 3D language that loads maps/models in an internet browser. I'm deciding which programming language to use. I know java is one of my options.

I am wondering about the following things:

1) what other in browser programming language options do i have?
2) what prebuilt and opensource engines can i use?
3) is it possible to integrate c++ into a webbrowser?
4) any other information you could give me (sry i can't disclose any more information, i just don't feel comfortable doing so. I'm sure you'll all understand)



0) there isn't any native "browser programming language" commonly in all major browsers that supports doing 3D stuff, rather the usual solution is to use plugins that are controlled by (arbitrary) browser-side scripts. Usually these are only 3D viewers that are remotely controlled by these scripts, for anything more powerful you can also provide your own 3D viewer (possibly OpenGL based) and integrate the plugin with a scripting engine of your choice

1) if you don't want limit yourself to the Win32 platform, you may want to consider using Gecko Engine based browsers such as Mozilla, FireFox, SeaMonkey etc. These are directly intended to be application programming frameworks, in fact the whole browser GUI is usually implemented via XML configurable GUI interfaces (XUL) and dynamic scripting (javascript).

2) Using Gecko based browsers, is certainly your best bet

3) not directly, however via plugins you can embed pretty much anything in any browser

4) ask the right questions, and you'll be given good feedback-ask unspecific questions, and you'll be given broad answers

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Browser rendering adds a lot of overhead, and the kinds of languages that integrate nicely with browsers (on the client side) are generally quite high level and not very efficient. I would suggest that you really, really don't want to try to present 3D models in this environment.

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You already know that Java can do this, and it certainly can. It's fairly common, so it's not going to turn off many customers. Those that don't have Java will probably feel okay about downloading it. Flash is another option.

However, whatever you do, please give those people who either don't have good enough computers to do nice 3D models or don't want to download a big 3D app a second option just to see some pictures.

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Over the past few years my company has investigated ways of getting 3D/virtual tours into a browser, including standard plug-ins, home grown activex, java etc. We are still looking into to, and currently I think the 2 best ways to go are:

1. Use Flash video for prerendered 3D visualistion movies, or camcorder movies of the real thing:
www.flashvideostudio.com

2. If you want 3D interactivity and are willing to sacrifice photorealism for a more abstract 3D representation then use a Flash ActionScript and an ActionScript 3D engine:
www.mtasc.org (open source actionscript compiler)
www.flashsandy.org (open source actionscript 3D library, or develop your own 3D engine in actionscript)

The reason I recommend Flash is because it is mainstream and available on most PCs (especially if you target an earlier version such as FlashMX/6) and seems to have the brightest future (Flash will even be available on Nintendo Wii, shipping with the Opera browser, Java wont be included). The reason I haven't recommended Java is because it doesn't have such a big installed base as Flash and I cant see this changing (I'd welcome anyone's feedback who has any statistics that contradict this). Java, however, should allow a more feature rich software 3D engine due to its better performance. The reason I haven't recommended Director is due to its smaller installed base, and 3D hardware acceleration issues (drivers, cards, version of DirectX, etc which may be OK for targeting gamer PCs not so go good for targeting mass-market home/business PCs/laptops). The reason I haven't recommended C++ plugins (Netscape/ActiveX) is due to the cross-platform development headache.

If you are uncomfortable about disclosing any more information here and prefer to contact me directly, just use the contact us page on our website at www.abstractworlds.com

[Edited by - abstractworlds on September 30, 2006 11:05:36 AM]

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Irrelevant for anybody in the real world, but maybe of theoretical interest:

There's a very highly experimental unreleased compile-it-yourself Firefox extension that provides a hardware-accelerated OpenGL ES interface to JavaScript running in a web browser, which is pretty nice. But that's not very practical if you want anybody to actually be able to use your system.

You can also do some limited 3D graphics with the canvas in Firefox, Opera and Safari, although it's horribly slow. I've got an example (requires Firefox 2.0+, though the graphics code should work elsewhere) using somebody's library to draw lit polygons, but it's kind of uselessly slow (though you can do less general 3D stuff at a more acceptable speed in a cross-browser way).

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If you are considering the canvas, its also worth checking out Google's canvas code which is a javascript implementation which gets the canvas working in IE:

http://code.google.com/p/explorercanvas/

If you download this from the sourceforge download link on the page, there's also a 3D test example (example 2) included in the zip.

Since its a 3D software engine in javascript it will be relatively slow.

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