The Internet in 3D, seriously

It’s not often that something genuinely new comes to the Web. Not new new, anyway. Sure, things evolve, often slowly and usually incrementally. A few years ago the big browsers started supporting javascript in a (mostly) standardized way, and that paved the oxcart trail for point-and-shoot libraries like jQuery and Scriptaculous, which sparked a wave of  awful sliders on top of every other Web site.

But times are changin’. And with more powerful Web browsers, a new generation of HTML, and killer new javascript libraries, full-on 3D is now a reality.

I use a fixed full-screen canvas and sync up scrolling with a 3D camera. The scene is mapped to CSS pixels and CSS perspective is locked to the camera. Once HTML, CSS 3D and WebGL are all in sync there’s a truckload of linear algebra and easing functions to keep you amused. The code is based on the platform I kludged together for the christmas demo, at times a mess of ad hoc demo formulas and spaghetti, though robust enough in the parts that count.

Check out the how-to. It’s jaw-dropping Wow (at least for Web design geeks).