On March 2nd, during GDC 2011, Rémi Arnaud organized a meeting to discuss the principles of a shared RESTful http API dedicated to 3D media. Mark Barnes, Henrik Bennetsen, Alan Chaney, Tony Parisi, and Dan Miller joined Rémi for this brainstorming meeting, bringing a vast experience in related technologies, such as VRML, X3D, COLLADA, Ourbricks …
The group discussed the potential benefits of having a common API to provide access to 3D content over http. There are already numerous places on the web providing 3D content, such as Google 3D Warehouse, 3DVia, and numerous commercial places. But all those places are designed for a user to browser and download models, most of the time as a zip package, to be then loaded within a tool-chain to be converted and used in an application, which could be a web application.
In the mean time the web technology has evolved significantly whereas many sites now provide a REST API that enable other applications (web or non web applications) to access the content directly. Think about the Google Map API, Dropbox API, Twitter API and all the applications built using those direct access APIS, both reading and writing content.
The group agreed that indeed enabling 3D content to be accessed and mashed-up in a standard way across many web sites has a lot of potential. The next step is to gather use cases and provide a scope for this API. It was decide that this would be a 100% open group, that everybody is invited to share their opinion and participate in the effort, and provide public visibility.
So, stay tune on this blog, post comments, join the Google group and introduce yourself, invite others.