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InfoQ Homepage News OpenXR Spec Hits 1.0, Guarantees Backward-Compatibility

OpenXR Spec Hits 1.0, Guarantees Backward-Compatibility

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Backed by Epic, Microsoft, Oculus, and others, OpenXR aims to reduce fragmentation in the AR/VR space by setting an open, royalty-free standard for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) platforms and devices. Additions to version 1.0 include better support for input subsystem, game engine editor, and loader.

OpenXR will provide two distinct abstraction layers. One is aimed to enable proprietary AR/VR platforms such as Oculus, Steam VR, Microsoft Mixed Reality and others to easily use heterogeneous hardware that implement the OpenXR device plugin interface. The other will make it possible for AR/VR applications and engines to use OpenXR-compliant AR/VR platforms through its OpenXR application interface. The OpenXR application interface deals with functionality like distortion correction, display output, coordinate system unification, etc.

It is worth noting that OpenXR 1.0 focuses on the application interface, while the device plugin interface will be defined in a future version of the specification.

With version 1.0, OpenXR reaches a maturity point that makes it possible for Khronos Group to guarantee that future versions of the specification will be backward compatible:

With this 1.0 release, the working group will evolve the standard while maintaining full backwards compatibility from this point onward, giving software developers and hardware vendors a solid foundation upon which to deliver incredible, portable, user experiences.

As the Khronos Group highlights, a reference implementation of OpenXR 1.0 should become available soon from Collabora, named Monado. Monado is fundamentally tied to the GNU/Linux platform and is part of the freedesktop project. On Windows, Microsoft has made available its own implementation of OpenXR aimed to enable the creation of OpenXR applications that are compatible with Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

An analogous effort to OpenXR was undertaken by the Mozilla Foundation with WebXR, which is geared to the Web specifically, though. The relationship between WebXR and OpenXR should not be assumed to be similar to that between WebGL and OpenGL. Indeed, while there is almost a 1:1 mapping between WebGL and OpenGL, WebXR and OpenXR are definitely two different API's. That does not rule out the possibility for WebXR to be implemented on top of OpenXR, using the latter as a native backend and making the former more widely available.

You can get the full OpenXR 1.0 specification from Khronos website.

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