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“WebGL is a cross-platform, royalty-free web standard for a low-level 3D graphics API based on OpenGL ES 2.0, exposed through the HTML5 Canvas element as Document Object Model interfaces. Developers familiar with OpenGL ES 2.0 will recognize WebGL as a Shader-based API using GLSL, with constructs that are semantically similar to those of the underlying OpenGL ES 2.0 API. It stays very close to the OpenGL ES 2.0 specification, with some concessions made for what developers expect out of memory-managed languages such as JavaScript.
WebGL brings plugin-free 3D to the web, implemented right into the browser. Major browser vendors Apple (Safari), Google (Chrome), Mozilla (Firefox), and Opera (Opera) are members of the WebGL Working Group.”
(WebGL - OpenGL ES 2.0 for the Web, retrieved 13:00, 25 August 2010 (UTC))

According to Wikipedia, “WebGL is based on OpenGL ES 2.0 and provides a programmatic interface for 3D graphics. It uses the HTML5 canvas element and is accessed using Document Object Model interfaces. Automatic memory management is provided as part of the JavaScript language”

As of Aug. WebGL is implemented in development releases (Alpha,Beta) of Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers.

Interfaces and libraries

Some may not yet support WebGL acceleration (as of Aug. 2010). There are others libraries too.

  • GLGE “is a javascript library intended to ease the use of WebGL; which is basically a native browser javascript API giving direct access to openGL ES2, allowing for the use of hardware accelerated 2D/3D applications without having to download any plugins.” (retrieved 13:59, 25 August 2010 (UTC))
  • 03d, a Google Code product. “an open-source JavaScript API for creating rich, interactive 3D applications in the browser. Originally built as a browser plug-in, this new implementation of O3D is a JavaScript library implemented on top of WebGL” (retrieved 13:59, 25 August 2010 (UTC)). 03d can load Collada files.
  • Processing.js, an open programming language for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions for the web without using Flash or Java applets. Processing.js uses Javascript to draw shapes and manipulate images on the HTML5 Canvas element
  • X3DOM, a (so far) partial X3D implementation. See its development status (13:00, 25 August 2010 (UTC)).


Official Web site and specification


  • Programming 3D Applications with HTML5 and WebGL 3D Animation and Visualization for Web Pages, By Tony Parisi, Publisher: O'Reilly Media

Released: September 2013 (est.), Pages: 300