Jason Deacon Team : Web Development Tags : Web Development

WebGL in HTML5

Jason Deacon Team : Web Development Tags : Web Development

WebGL is an implementation of OpenGL ES 2.0 which is accessible through the HTML5 canvas element. It allows the display and interaction of 3D graphics using the users own video card for hardware acceleration.

What this means is that webpages can display content-rich 3D scenes directly in the users web browser without the need for plugins, which can be used for gaming, real-time previews and interactive demonstrations of real-world products and anything else that can be imagined.

Since WebGL is based on OpenGL ES 2.0, many tutorials and reference information widely available for OpenGL can be applied to WebGL, however even though WebGL is still quite new there are already a plethora of WebGL examples and tutorials popping up all over the internet.

There is one caveat to writing a WebGL enabled website though, and that is browser support. Specifically, no versions of Internet Explorer support WebGL, which is intentional as Microsoft are claiming security issues with the WebGL standard which conflict with their own security policies. However, that said, Mozilla Firefox (4+), Google Chrome (9+), Safari (5.1+) and Opera (11.5+) all support hardware accelerated WebGL webpages and do not consider WebGL to be a potential security risk.

As WebGL enabled browsers become more common, I expect more and more impressive 3d-enabled web pages to be produced bringing new levels of interaction and engagement with users beyond the current tradition of flat websites.

For more information about WebGL: