OVW Transparent Browser Bounty About to be Claimed

Brent Fulgham is currently working on the transparency feature for WebKit. Brent is the developer of the WebKit-Cairo port. It looks like the bounty will be claimed soon. Here are first impressions of the test.

What does this mean for the project? We will soon be able to start working on the GUI. The GUI is the last missing part of the new OVW avatar client. Thanks to Brent, the GUI will be purely HTML based. That's the future folks: Web technologies, CSS, HTML, SVG, Canvas, WebGL.

Later we might also incorporate the multi-process rendering and WebGL developments of WebKit. This means, that rendering will be even faster in the future and we can support real 3D avatars.

Also, thanks to Lupus Labs for sponsoring this open source bounty.

OVW Transparent Browser Bounty

The OVW project needs a transparent browser as GUI platform. Transparent browser means, that if I set CSS transparency of the HTML-body to 0.5, then I want to see the desktop partially. All graphics and dialogs of the OVW client will be displayed by this browser. There will be no other native windows or GUI components. There are so many other things to do in the OVW project. We would like to outsource this task to people who have browser library know how. We would like to sponsor your open source work, and work on other OVW parts in the meantime.

The transparent browser will be used by a OVW client plugin module. We will wrap the OVW specific module around the transparent browser library. What we need is a transparent browser DLL, which our GUI module DLL can use. To be able to integrate the transparent browser into our project, we need a MS VisualStudio project which compiles all required components, links them into one or more DLLs and has a driver program which teaches us how to use the transparent browser. We would like to add features later, hence the need for a compileable project, not just a release DLL. Yes, we know that we can build WebKit from SVN, but it's not simple and there is so much else to do.

Key properties of the project:
  • transparent browser, no default window background
  • in other words: window alpha channel controlled by CSS only
  • only libraries which can be distributed with a BSD like license
  • Cairo or Skia does not matter, but not CoreGraphics
  • Synchronous calls into and out of the browser's Javascript
  • normal performance, meaning no bad hacks, which make transparency, but harm performance
  • Keyboard input and mouse move, click, scroll
  • IFRAME-Support
  • max. 20 MB for everything needed before compression
  • better no app installation required, no registry prep, just plain DLLs
  • preferably as MS Visual Studio 2005 Project, 2008 possible
  • Release + Debug builds
  • Unicode and CJK-script support, right-to-left script is nice to have
  • BSD license
Chromium comes to mind as a base technology because this is where the buzz currently is. There are also Chromium derivatives like Awesomium and Berkelium which could be a starting point. Pure WebKit is also an option. We might migrate to speedy Javascript, out-of-process rendering, and WebGL later. Gecko is also possible.

The bounty is max. 4.000 € in 4 steps:
  • 1 k € for a DLL which paints a web page on a transparent window incl. a sample driver program (which has a URL input). We can compile it.
  • 1 k € for keyboard/mouse input, IFRAME support, and max 20 MB.
  • 1 k € for synchronous calls with arguments between the driver program and the Javascript engine. Int and String type arguments should be enough, Dictionary arguments would be cool. BeforeNavigate, DocumentComplete notifications similar to the MSIE component.
  • 1 k € for additional cool stuff to be defined later, e.g. MSVC 2005 because it lets us omit recent C runtime libs making the package smaller, helping us actively to use the thing, shrinking to 10 MB including all support DLLs (beware of the ICU data DLL), WebGL support, DOM API support, helping us to channel HTTP over the OVW client's HTTP component, etc.
More about the Open Virtual World project: http://www.OpenVirtualWorld.com