July 8th, 2013


OK, WebGL sucks.

At least, for now. I just watched something I honestly hadn't seen since 1997, when I was running Windows 95 on a machine that didn't even have 2D acceleration. I just watched something appear row-by-row as it was being drawn on the screen. I don't think it was supposed to look like that.

My GPU is built-in to my Pentium B940. This GPU has more oomph to it than old and trusty TNT2 from back in the day. And I just watched it act like a 200MHz K6 blitting, pixel-by-pixel, a start menu to a 1MB framebuffer on the wrong side of a 16MHz 16-bit bus.

This is just wrong. It smacks of the days when I was still on dial-up in 2005, and every web dev out there was coding up pages optimized for their cozy DSL and cable (or worse, LAN) connections. Instead of dozens of graphic files (with the odd autostart video), though, now I get to deal with excessive CSS animations being kicked off before pageloads even finish.

People, the loading of your page doesn't need a full songe and dance number. If you want to draw attention to UI elements, one of the most effective things I've seen done comes from mobile video games; have the UI element pulse until it's acknowledged. You don't need it to zoom onto the screen like an 80s stunt driver.