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Re: exposing CANVAS or something like it to Web Workers

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2012 18:23:26 -0700
Message-ID: <CA+c2ei8aLaaeA4bFjrR+btzPH=85BYBH42PwhKq9OQ5vcXAFQQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Charles Pritchard <chuck@jumis.com>
Cc: Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org>, Anne van Kesteren <annevk@annevk.nl>, "Gregg Tavares (勤)" <gman@google.com>, Web Applications Working Group WG <public-webapps@w3.org>
On Mon, May 14, 2012 at 5:10 PM, Charles Pritchard <chuck@jumis.com> wrote:
> On May 14, 2012, at 4:42 PM, Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc> wrote:
>> On Mon, May 14, 2012 at 3:28 PM, Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org> wrote:
>>> On Mon, May 14, 2012 at 3:01 PM, Gregg Tavares (勤) <gman@google.com> wrote:
>>>> I'd like to work on exposing something like CANVAS to web workers.
>>>> Ideally how over it works I'd like to be able to
>>>> *) get a 2d context in a web worker
>>> I'd recommend not trying to tackle 2d and 3d contexts at once, and only
>>> worrying about WebGL to start.
>>> Another issue: rendering in a worker thread onto a canvas which is displayed
>>> in the main thread.  This needs to be solved in a way that doesn't cause the
>>> asynchronous nature of what's happening to be visible to scripts.  toDataURL
>>> and toBlob would probably need to be prohibited on the canvas element.  I'm
>>> not sure what the actual API would look like.
>> If/when we do this, I think it should be done in such a way that the
>> main window can't access the canvas object at all. Similar to what
>> happens when an ArrayBuffer is transferred to a Worker using
>> structured cloning. Once a canvas is transferred to a Worker, any
>> access to it should throw or return null/0/"". If you want to transfer
>> pixel data to the main thread, it seems less racy to do that by
>> getting the pixel data in the Worker which owns the canvas and then
>> transfer that to the main thread using postMessage.
>>> This would also require some
>>> equivalent to requestAnimationFrame in the worker thread.
>> Agreed!
>> / Jonas
> I'm a bit lost-- wouldn't we just postMessage from the document over to the web worker when we want a refresh?
> I agree that we ought to be transferring pixel data not Canvas contexts; with the possible exception of CSS context.
> We could just create new canvas instances inside the worker thread. I'd still prefer to clone CanvasPattern as a means of transferring paint over to the worker, though sending pixel data would work too.
> I heard Picture come up-- it seems like that object might have additional semantics for high resolution alternatives that may need to be considered.

I was saying that I think we should transfer the context from the main
thread to the worker thread. The worker thread should then be able to
use the context to draw directly to the screen without interacting
with the main thread.

You should generally not need to transfer pixel data. But I think it
should be possible to grab pixel data on whichever thread is currently
owning a context. This will implicitly make it possible to transfer
pixel data if anyone wants to do it.

/ Jonas
Received on Tuesday, 15 May 2012 01:24:25 UTC

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