[osg-users] OSG plugin for browsers

Thibault Genessay tibogens at gmail.com
Thu Apr 7 02:30:30 PDT 2011

Hi folks,

I have been looking for quite a long time for a way to integrate
OpenSceneGraph applications in web browsers. Several plugins seem to
have emerged in the past years:
- osg4web (project created on Google code, nothing to download)
- gvsig3d (http://gvsig3d.blogspot.com/2010/02/openscenegraph-plugin-for-firefox.html).
Very promising, but I can't find any source code, if any is to be
published some day.
- The so-called "OSG Viewer Firefox Plugin 1.0". I can't find where
this one originates from, so I didn't install it

Other people have thought of alternatives to display 3D content:
- osgjs - which re-implements the OSG in Javascript. Although the API
is very close to the C++ one, it is not a way to embed an OSG app in a
- webGL. If I am not mistaken, this leaves out the OSG entirely, and
only aims at displaying 3D models. Kind of a new VRML thing.

I recently stumbled upon FireBreath (www.firebreath.org, licenses: BSD
or GPL). This very smart software (at least, according to the videos
on the website) let you build plugins that are compatible with all
major browsers by relying on either ActiveX (for IE) or the NPAPI
(other browsers). BUT: it only works on Windows platforms.

I have also tried to develop my own plugins for Firefox and Safari.
Both are so huge and so complicated (e.g. lack of accurate
documentation of Firefox) that I never managed to build something
convincing. Plus you have to focus on each browser's specifics instead
of focusing on the OSG/Javascript interaction.

At this point, and because I somehow need to have users being able to
view OSG content on the web in a robust and predictable manner, I am
leaning towards FireBreath. Not having to care about the browsers'
internals is such a huge benefit that I can accept its Windows-only
nature. However, if any people on this list have experience on
developing cross-browser, cross-platform plugins, I'd welcome all
input, suggestions, trout slaps for being such an MS-ass.

It is quite evident that the ideal plugin would be:
- available for all platforms (even smartphones)
- for all browsers
- in all languages (UI language: e.g. English, French)
- in-line with the current OSG development
- fully open-source, of course
- built just like a native OSG executable

I am very willingful to share my work on this plugin, but I feel like
going alone is not a good option. My needs are quite basic, but my
experience with browser plugins is small and I certainly miss out
important features. Plus the task of making it right takes certainly
more than a decision of a single person. I think the long-term success
of a browser plugin needs some planification.

Any comments, suggestions, etc. are very welcome



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