Xj3D Evolution

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Xj3D is an open-source Java implementation for X3D graphics. Xj3D is used to demonstrate many capabilities for specification development and supports a variety of valuable projects.

Announcement: NPS has ported the full Xj3D codebase and history to the Sourceforge Xj3D site. This page describes the how that transition from the original xj3d.org site took place.

Discussion and consensus building

We are using source@web3d.org mailing list to work out these possibilities and build stakeholder consensus. (subscribe, archive)

Consensus summary points

  • Basic strategy: we are evolving by re-versioning, not re-naming Xj3D
  • We will simply mirror the current xj3d.org repository, as version 2.0, and maintain full backwards compatibility by integrating any forthcoming changes there

Transition Goals and Timeline

Long-term stability, improvement and development of the Xj3D code base are shared goals. This page records ideas for potential improvement. These are familiar topics and lots of excellent work continues.

It was straightforward for interested stakeholders to discuss and agree on next steps.

  • Following extensive comments from Xj3D source community and X3D working group from our teleconference on 30 June 2014, work to mirror Xj3D on SourceForge began during the week of 7 July 2014.
  • We achieved the goal to have everything transitioned, stabilized, announced and ready for new contributions at the Web3D 2014 Conference and SIGGRAPH 2014 Conference in Vancouver Canada.
  • The NPS branch and original Yumetech trunk were successfully swapped in May 2015.
  • Additional variants of Xj3D have been integrated within the new trunk, sometimes saving alternates as branches for archival purposes.
  • Primary development is on the trunk with JOGAMP/JOGL/JOAL fully updated.

Source Code Hosting Transferred

The Xj3D code was moved to a stable public open-source repository in order to enable greater participation and development. This approach also gained more visibility among programmers who might want to contribute.

  • xj3d.org has hosted the source for many years but development has been intermittent and somewhat less than fully open.
  • NPS branch of Xj3D was used for experimental development. Proven changes and unit tests are integrated back into the Xj3D trunk when stable.

Direction: mirroring the full xj3d.org site on SourceForge Xj3D project is the group's best approach to meet group goals for unveiling and evangelizing Xj3D community opportunities at Web3D 2014 Conference and SIGGRAPH 2014.

Results: The codebase has been re-established at Xj3D Sourceforge project

  • Xj3D Sourceforge codebase without change (and with total prior code history) was made publicly available 8 August 2014
  • Initial build tests satisfactory for both NPS branch and original Yumetech trunk.

Decision rationale follows for choice of source archive site.

SourceForge

  • The current xj3d.org code is in subversion, this can be migrated completely
  • Web3D already has numerous assets checked into the Sourceforge X3D project, it is available
  • Sourceforge also has related projects for jgeom and open-dis
  • Multiple participants have experience with using and administering the Sourceforge site
  • Instead of using the Web3D X3D project, can Web3D instead create a new and separate Sourceforge project for Xj3D to keep things a bit simpler?
  • Can the new site maintain a side-by-side mirror of Xj3D.org and an refactored trunk, so that all updates are reliably accessible?
  • Can the new site keep a new trunk adjacent but separate so that new developers can get started quickly?
  • There is a lot of merit to using a version-control system that is familiar, especially as we try to integrate other Xj3D variants and prepare for SIGGRAPH milestones.

GitHub

  • GitHub includes the X3DOM project and a few other X3D-related projects.
  • We have reserved an X3D Xj3D project site on GitHub as a placeholder. This might be useful for cross-links and future evolution.
  • The github pricing policy does not cost money to operate an open-source organizational repository.
  • We are looking at migration of subversion to git.. appears possible but somewhat involved.
  • If we do migrate to GitHub, that will likely complicate the re-integration of other existing subversion-based exports of Xj3D.

Maven

  • Apache Maven can encourage a variety of build possibilities and paired support between multiple projects, especially for Java. Who has some experience, or wants to experiment, with adding it?

Web3D.org Website

Several project builds are maintained on external repositories but their corresponding websites are automatically built and updated on web3d.org

Web3D summary page

  • TODO: have www.web3d.org/xj3d (or somesuch) provide an official summary page for Xj3D community on new web3d.org website
  • TODO: find and cleanup or move other wiki pages for Xj3D - somewhat gated by difficulties with web3d.org wiki.

Mailing list considerations

Web3D Consortium maintains the mailing list archives.

  • Discussion list source@web3D.org seems to be a misnomer, perhaps it should be restarted as xj3d@web3d.org
  • This list is also used for discussions on the SourceForge jgeom project, so perhaps the current name is actually OK
  • Commits list source_x3d_cvs@web3d.org and commits account cvs-user@xj3d.org are also mis-named since subversion is used

Another alternative option:

  • Move all discussion and reporting lists to the sourceforge repository in order to maximize community productivity. In that case, the prior email lists are simply closed and kept archived, which also reduces the web3d.org administrative burden.

Resolution: we maintained stability with the source@web3D.org list.

TODO: Opportunities and upcoming tasks

Merge orphaned Xj3D codebases

Separate projects have made excellent improvements to Xj3D over the years, but were never re-integrated into the master code base. We hope to capture, merge and test these improvements in version control, and then issue a series of new releases.

Please contact us if you have source code to integrate into the Xj3D project.

Xj3D issue tracking

Currently two bugzilla sites are in existence. They need to be merged and become active.

TODO: for maximum reliability over long term, we need to migrate to the SourceForge tickets tracker. Past bugs and issues can be transcribed as appropriate to maintain historical rationales.

Xj3D website improvements

The orginal Xj3D website is moderately complete but woefully out of date.

TODO website migration:

  • Confirm that website pages and documentation are checked into version control
  • Automate website updates by synchronizing with version control
  • Offer ways for people to contribute bug reports, issues, improvements

Programming problems

Several areas of Xj3D implementation are problematic. Dedicated attention and teamwork may help.

  • Better run-time exception reporting (most log entries are completely obscure)
  • Confirm updated jogl rendering is working, especially z-buffer and aliasing
  • Extrusion node support for orientation field (overall passes 7 of 10 tests)
  • Image rendering timing can miss colors/textures and hangs on numerous examples
  • Compressed binary encoding hangs on numerous examples, but the apparent list of exception errors seems short
  • Ensure that we are keeping current with JOGAMP (formerly java.net JOGL, includes JOAL JOCL etc.) and the Aviatrix3D render layer (github), administered by Justin Couch
  • FontStyle implementation is incorrect. See example FontStyle/default

Other project efforts are always welcome.

  • X3D-Edit update report
  • Automatic creation of viewpoint images for all scenes in the X3D Examples archives

All inputs and contributions are welcome. Have fun with Xj3D!