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Chapter 2. OVERVIEW OF WEB3D > Java 3D and VRML: Similar, Yet Different

Java 3D and VRML: Similar, Yet Different

Although VRML and Java 3D differ in their approach to 3D content creation and delivery, both shield developers from low-level plumbing details. Java 3D is a high-level 3D API that allows programmers to develop comprehensive 3D programs without the complexity found in traditional 3D languages such as OpenGL and Direct3D, in much the same way that VRML spares developers from these gruesome details.

Java 3D also is similar to VRML in that it is a freely available technology that anyone with a Windows or Solaris operating system can use. (Java 3D for other platforms, such as the Macintosh, is expected in the future, once Java 3D takes hold.) In this respect, Sun's Java 3D API is analogous to the Web3D Consortium's VRML specifications; both are blueprints that developers can use to create 3D content and both are available for free over the Internet. Content developers don't have to plunk down a dime to use the Java 3D API, nor do they have to pay for the runtime environment that actually executes Java 3D bytecode: Sun's Java 3D APIs and JVMs are available free of charge through the official Java Web site ( http://java.sun.com/).


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