Re: Scripts vs APIs

Kevin Goldsmith (
Wed, 7 Sep 1994 00:38:40 -0700 (PDT)

> I agree that confusion is beginning to reign here. The issue is whether to
> base everything on a scripting language, thereby requiring that any existing
> VR simulations be rebuilt using this scripting language, and that all new
> simulations be constructed from a single set of primitives, or to use an API
> which defines a standard set of interprocess communications protocols,
> thereby allowing existing simulations to be incorporated in binary form and
> new simulations to be constructed with the best tools availabale.
I beg to differ on several points. There are two completely
separate arguments: scripting language vs. scene description language;
some sort of language vs. API. The creation of a new scene description
language (my personal preference) does not in any way, shape or form
require the rewriting of any existing tools. It does require the
creation of a few new tools to translate from existing formats into the
new format and visa versa.

> I am worried that if we try to come up with a definitive "VR language," no
> one will come to our party. It is unrealistic to assume that engineers will
> give up their favorite development platforms in order to develop
> applications in VRML if a better alternative exists. Some will for purely
> academic interest, but, when push comes to shove, the best development tools
> will always win out. We have seen that an API approach is feasible. This
> fact will not go away. I rather suggest that we should create a VRML that
> is capable of coordinating and orchestrating API-based modules, allowing us
> to embrace API advances without painting ourselves into a corner with a
> language that predefines the possible range of capabilities of simulations.

Develop applications in VRML? That makes no sense. VRML will not be a
language in the sense that C or Pascal is a language. It will be a
textual (and possibly binary) way of representing 3D scenes (and possibly
behaviors or sounds or ...) the charter of this group is not create a
new programming language. It seems that the word "language" seems to be
the point of confusion here. Think of it instead as "file format" and
you will understand a bit more where I am comming from.

Michael and I have been going in circles with each other on this subject
for a few days now. Anyone else want to contribute, or should be just
take this to private e-mail?