RBML - initial response

Mitra <mitra@mitra.biz, 6 December 1995.
This document is part of a collection of VRML2.0 history at http://www.mitra.biz/vrml/vrml2/mw_history.html

This is an initial response to Microsoft's RBML proposal, now renamed Active VRML, which should be obtainable later on the 7th from http://www.microsoft.com/intdev/tech.htm.

If I look at a system as having three main components,

  1. The model
  2. The scene composition
  3. The behavior language
Then it appears that VRML1.0 and current proposals for VRML2.0 cover components 1 and 2, with the language (e.g. Java) being component 3. RBML covers points 2 and 3.

As *A* language, i.e. something to sit at layer 3 it makes perfect sense, some systems are best described in the functional model you propose, and it would work very well through the kinds of API that are in my proposal.

I can't see what we gain by putting RBML at layer 2, it gives a different way of describing the same compositing functions with no gain over existing VRML, and a substantial paradigm shift compared to what everyone has been building so far.

I also find it hard to see us requiring all behaviors to be written using the functional model, it is not ideally suited for event driven programming, nor for programming in a world of objects, events and Applets.

This obviously needs more discussion, but at the moment I would suggest that RBML be proposed for A language that is used to describe behaviors in a VRML2.0 environment rather than VRML2.0 itself.

- Mitra