Why a technical post? Well, to be honest because I realised how much we depend on a cloud-service. Let me explain how this happened and then provide a solution.
In the past, the AnRep3D-generator created graphs in the independent language VRML, used for 3D models. VRML is a formally obsolete language, able to present 2D and 3D models. I wrote “formally” because it has a successor called X3D. Yet VRML is still around and X3D as a pure language never became very well known let alone broadly accepted. Since AnRep3D-graphs are 3D models choosing VRML made sense in 2006, but there was also a disadvantage which became more important over the years. VRML can only be read by specific viewers or in a web-browser if a plug-in is installed. The number of viewers available over the year declined and on top of this, a kind of crusade against browser plug-ins started. People neither wanted to install a plug-in, nor did they download a viewer. In the end this meant nobody was looking at the AnRep3D-graphs (and VRBI for that matter). Switching to X3D wouldn’t have solved the issue as it needs a viewer as well and hardly any browser plug-ins are available.
When you look at the output-file of the AnRep3D-generator (use our free 3D-graph generator package to create one or simply pick an example available in this package) you will see something like this:
The second part within the blue box is the actual graph, more or less in X3D. With some alterations it would be possible to generate pure X3D, to be read by a viewer. The first part however, surrounded by a red line, calls for a translation and as the file already is in the html-format, the translated result can be understood by the browser.
This works so well that I never thought about it, until last May (2018). The X3DOM cloud-service was down during a couple of days for the first time ever and as a result the AnRep3D-graphs didn’t work! I was shocked, especially because I never realised I was using a cloud-service translating the AnRep3D code in real-time! After the weekend https://x3dom.org was up and running again, but I started to think about the options. It was then that I decided to write this post, to warn for the dependency.
It turned out the converted code can be saved locally to become independent from the cloud-service, but to be honest: I never did until last week. By right-clicking outside the blue part of the page, the source can be downloaded. I saved the example shown abobe. The result looks a little bit different from the original.
Of course we will work on the improvement of the generator and listen to our clients (companies holding a licence for the full generator, that is) to determine our roadmap.
Despite “Java” being in the name, it has nothing to do with the Java programming language. It’s an example of “mimicry” used as a marketing strategy.
The AnRep3D-generator was written in Java, but any other language would have done. All one needs is the programme – never mind how it was created. The only issue is, the Java-package should be available on your device to be able to run it. Java is available for free at a separate Oracle-website: Languages used by Microsoft are preinstalled in Windows, but Java is not.