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“AJAX3D combines the power of X3D, the standard for real-time 3D on the Web, with the ease of use and ubiquity of AJAX. AJAX3D employs the X3D Scene Access Interface (SAI) ­ the X3D equivalent of the DOM ­ to control 3D worlds via JavaScript.” (Parisi, 2006).

'Update': This seems to be a dead proposal - Daniel K. Schneider 09:53, 2 September 2010 (CEST)

See also: Virtual environment, 3D interactive environment, Desktop virtual reality, X3D, Web 3D technology


Technologies behind AJAX3D

AJAX3D is based on the integration of two programming models:

  • the W3C Document Object Model (DOM), a model for programs interacting with a Web document
    • In particular: XMLHttpRequest
  • the ISO Scene Access Interface (SAI), an interface to control X3D scenes.
  • This technology is standards based and does not rely on proprietary data formats or scripting languages.
Combination of DOM, SAI and AJAX means
  • using the SAI to access a real-time 3D scene;
  • using the DOM to manipulate Web page content in response to changes in the 3D scene
  • using server-request methods (XMLHttpRequest, createX3DFromURL) to store and retrieve data in response to, and/or leading to, changes in a 3D scene.
Current implementation status
  • DOM and SAI are standards (and in principle implemented)
  • AJAX simply means using the DOM XHMLHttpRequest. JavaScript is used to script interactivity on the client-side and to send request to a server.

The only challenge is to write libraries that will make this task easier. Therefore, the AJAX3D initiative aimes to “develop a programming framework ("ajax3dlib"): The first tutorials hint at a general-purpose programming framework, but there's still a lot of work to be done in this area” (Parisi, 2006).


Any SAI-compliant X3D plug-in that supports JavaScript should be able to support AJAX3D,

Parisi et al. developed showcases on their website with their own FLUX player.

Server-side technology

  • Bascially any, e.g. Apache/PHP/MySQL

In education

See more conceptual articles like Virtual environment, 3D interactive environment, Desktop virtual reality.

Using such environments in education for various purposes (ranging from chat applications such as Second Life to applications let users interact with various objects) is an old dream (first attempts to build non-proprietry virtual "desktop" environments date back to 1995). This technology may help because:

  • it's based on standards that will probably stay (certainly the DOM)
  • today's machines can handle 3D graphics much better and the Internet is faster.

Btw, Parisi was co-inventor of Virtual Reality Markup Language VRML in 1994 and developed WorldView, the first VRML browser for the PC, so there is "some" experience behind this project.


Project websites


To sort out ...


  • Parisi, Tony (2006). Ajax3D: The Open Platform for Rich 3D Web Applications, Media Machines, Inc. Whitepaper. HTML/PDF.
  • Parisi, Tony (2006). Ajax3D: The Open Platform for Rich 3D Web Applications, AJAXWorld Magazine, HTML