Development platform overview
The XR4ALL development platform aims at providing XR4ALL third party projects wih the required environment and tools to develop new XR components, systems, and applications.
Indeed, XR systems are relatively complex and consist of a multitude of hardware and software components that communicate with each other to deliver a rich XR experience. However, no solutions fits all needs, and developing an XR system to meet specific needs requires the assembly of well-suited components. This is the main objective of the XR4ALL development platform: to offer the XR4ALL developers community the tools to develop, integrate, test, share, assemble and promote a plurality of XR components in order to ease and reduce the cost of development of XR applications and thus to promote XR adoption.
What does the platform offer ?
- The XR4ALL development platform will provide each XR4ALL supported project with a private area including a wide range of tools to ease the development of XR components and applications using a methodology inspired by DevOps :
- GIT repositories for source code versionning (GitLab).
- Online homepage and documentation generated with a mark-up language (i.e. AsciiDoc).
- Test and continuous integration pipelines (GitLab CI).
- Artefact repositories (private and public) to store solution binaries.
- Bug tracker.
- A public forum to exchange with the XR4ALL community.
These tools will help XR4ALL solutions developers during the different steps of development (planning, coding, building, testing, integration). The methodology inspired by DevOps aims at continuously integrating new features while delivering, fixing, and updating the product. It intends to reduce the time between committing a change to a system and the change being in place into normal production while ensuring high quality. Thus, the provided tools will allow developpers to offer the community more mature components, tested on different platforms, and rapidly evolving to meet the needs of their users. All tools and storage will be hosted on European servers and administered by a European Research Institute (IRT b<>com).
In addition, the XR4ALL development platform provides a framework, called SolAR, dedicated to the development of computer vision solutions addressing XR applications. Indeed, computer vision is a key technology in XR systems, whether to (geo-)locate the XR system or to understand the real environment and the user interactions. The SolAR framework has been designed to assemble together vision software components developed by a wide community in order to implement vision pipelines dedicated to XR purposes (localization, tracking, 3D reconstruction, scene analysis, etc.). The SolAR framework is free of charge, under Licence Apache V2.0, and aims to encourage collaborations between computer vision actors developing XR technologies (researchers, R&D engineers, developers, etc.).
Also, since XR technologies are not limited to computer vision, the XR4ALL development platform is open to all solutions that encourage interoperability, whether through open-source frameworks or standards-based developments. And as we are aware that commercial game engines such as Unity currently ensure the interaction between a wide range of XR software components, the tools provided by the XR development platform will support such game engines.
Whom for is the XR4ALL development platform?
First of all, the XR4ALL development platform is restricted to XR4ALL supported projects accepted in phase 1 and 2 of the XR4ALL open call. The XR4ALL development platform has be designed to meet the need of any XR solution developer who is looking for a development environment that allows him/her to bring an innovation to maturity and turn it into a product. These developers may include researchers and PHD students who wish to transfer the results of their research activities to industry, start-ups and SMEs who are looking for a ready-to-use development platform dedicated to XR solutions, and companies that promote open innovation and look for an environment to explore innovative XR technologies.
What kinds of solutions can be developed with the XR4ALL development platform?
The XR4ALL development platform aims at supporting any European XR solution funded by XR4ALL that will promote the adoption of XR technologies for both professional and consumer use, whether it is applications addressing particular use cases or technological components offering more advanced XR functionalities. The XR4ALL development platform is not specifically designed to support fundamental research activities, but rather to promote to industry the results of research and innovative activities. This is the place to develop XR “Lego© blocks”, share them with the developer’s community on the XR solutions catalogue, and assemble them to develop XR applications.
Here is an non-exhaustive list of XR solutions supported by the XR4ALL development platform:
- Ready-to-use plug-ins for existing game engines widely used by the XR developer community (e.g. packages for Unity).
- Vision components and/or vision pipelines compliant with the SolAR framework.
- XR components compliant with XR standard or open API (e.g. OpenXR, WebXR, MPEG ARAF, ARML or MobAR).
- XR components developed with open frameworks.
- XR applications that ideally integrate European XR components promoted in the XR solution catalogue.
Why use the XR4ALL development platform?
XR4ALL development platform is the only DevOps platform dedicated to XR solutions. Free of charge, each XR4ALL supported project will have access to a dedicated and private development area offering not only access to a wide range of tools inspired by DevOps, but also a complete technical description about the platform as well as technical support on how to use it over the duration of the project.
Each XR4ALL supported project will be required to host at least its source code on the XR4ALL development platform. In order to comply with the commitments related to the deliverables expected for each project, it will be strongly recommended to use the tools offered by the platform (tests and continuous integration pipeline, documentation generation, delivery, etc.).