Virtual environments can be rendered using VML and, in turn, used by a web browser, as a web site. VML can be used to display dynamic content from the computer, as a means of interactivity. A user can move around and manipulate objects within the scene by clicking on them or interacting with objects in the scene. As you might imagine, the more powerful the interaction, the greater the sense of interaction and the more likely you are to be able to create a successful interactive web site.
The reason why many designers are so attracted to VRML lies in its ability to make it easy for the computer to do almost anything. By combining a VML application with a graphic designer’s imagination, it is possible to develop and customize any number of graphics with little or no coding.
A basic VRML application consists of a scene and three basic components: text, images, and audio. Each of these is referred to as an “instance.” All the information in an instance is stored within a single virtual object.
The primary advantage to VML is that it is so simple to use. The text, images, and audio are stored as “virtual objects” within an instance. Since these objects cannot be copied or moved around, they must be stored as a single entity, with the data contained within it being stored within the same location. This gives a very simple user interface and provides a great deal of control over the way the objects look.
Audio and image elements can be added to the scene at any time by inserting “virtual objects” into the scene. Since these virtual objects are stored as a single entity, it is very difficult to accidentally delete or change the content of one instance without altering the other instances. Since these elements are stored as single entities, the only thing needed to modify one virtual object is to move it to a different location and then insert it back into the scene.
Because of the simplicity of the VML approach, many VML applications are created with graphics and text. However, VML also makes it possible to build a variety of advanced interactive scenes with audio and images that allow users to interact with the environment. Since these scenes are stored as single objects, it is extremely difficult to accidentally delete or change one instance without affecting the others.
Since VML allows web browsers to render dynamic content using graphics and text, it is very easy to design and develop a dynamic web site without needing to code anything at all. These are the reasons that web designers like the format.
One of the primary features of VML is that it allows a web site to provide instant, interactive responses to user input. By utilizing the visual scripting language, it is possible to create interactive elements within a web site that are designed to respond to specific input, such as buttons, forms, and drop down menus.
VML does have some disadvantages, however. Since the interface is so simple and straightforward, it is possible to create web pages that require users to input data in many different ways. This creates a situation where the end result will not be the same across multiple web pages.
Another drawback to the VML interface is that a site cannot be customized the same way that a text or graphics-only web site can be. This means that all websites designed using this format will be the same. Even if a developer is skilled at creating Flash, HTML, Java, or CSS, it will still take the average designer several months to learn how to customize a VML-based website. Since it is possible to include graphics and text elements, it is impossible to create dynamic websites that include animated graphics or sound effects.