WebGL

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WebGL
WebGL logo
Original author(s) Mozilla Foundation
Developer(s) Khronos WebGL Working Group
Initial release March 3, 2011 (2011-03-03)[1]
Stable release 1.0.2 / March 1, 2013 (2013-03-01)
Platform Cross-platform
Type API
Website www.khronos.org/webgl/

WebGL (Web Graphics Library) is a JavaScript API for rendering interactive 3D graphics and 2D graphics within any compatible web browser without the use of plug-ins.[2] WebGL is integrated completely into all the web standards of the browser allowing GPU accelerated usage of physics and image processing and effects as part of the web page canvas. WebGL elements can be mixed with other HTML elements and composited with other parts of the page or page background.[3] WebGL programs consist of control code written in JavaScript and shader code that is executed on a computer's Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). WebGL is designed and maintained by the non-profit Khronos Group.[4]

Design[edit]

WebGL is based on OpenGL ES 2.0 and provides an API for 3D graphics.[5] 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.[4]

Like OpenGL ES 2.0, WebGL does not have the fixed-function APIs introduced in OpenGL 1.0 and deprecated in OpenGL 3.0. This functionality can instead be provided by the user in the JavaScript code space.

Shaders in WebGL are expressed directly in GLSL.

History[edit]

WebGL evolved out of the Canvas 3D experiments started by Vladimir Vukićević at Mozilla. Vukićević first demonstrated a Canvas 3D prototype in 2006. By the end of 2007, both Mozilla[6] and Opera[7] had made their own separate implementations.

In early 2009, the non-profit technology consortium Khronos Group started the WebGL Working Group, with initial participation from Apple, Google, Mozilla, Opera, and others.[4][8] Version 1.0 of the WebGL specification was released March 2011.[1] As of March 2012, the chair of the working group is Ken Russell.

Early applications of WebGL include Google Maps and Zygote Body.[9][10] More recently[when?], Autodesk ported most of their applications to the cloud running on local WebGL clients. These applications included Fusion 360 and AutoCAD 360.[11]

Development of the WebGL 2 specification started in 2013.[12] This specification is based on OpenGL ES 3.0.

Support[edit]

WebGL is widely supported in modern browsers. However its availability is dependent on other factors like the GPU supporting it. The official WebGL website offers a simple test page.[13] More detailed information (like what renderer the browser uses, and what extensions are available) is provided at third-party websites.[14][15]

Desktop browsers[edit]

  • Google Chrome – WebGL has been enabled on all platforms that have a capable graphics card with updated drivers since version 9, released in February 2011.[16][17] By default on Windows Chrome uses the ANGLE (Almost Native Graphics Layer Engine) renderer to translate OpenGL ES to Direct X 9.0c, which has better driver support.[18] On Linux and Mac OS X the default renderer is OpenGL however.[19] It is also possible to force OpenGL as the renderer on Windows.[18] Since September 2013, Chrome also has a newer Direct3D 11 renderer, which however requires a newer graphics card.[20][21]
  • Mozilla Firefox – WebGL has been enabled on all platforms that have a capable graphics card with updated drivers since version 4.0.[22] Nowadays Firefox also uses ANGLE on Windows.[18]
  • Safari – Safari 6.0 and newer versions installed on OS X Mountain Lion, Mac OS X Lion and Safari 5.1 on Mac OS X Snow Leopard implemented support for WebGL, which was disabled by default before Safari 8.0.[23][24][25][26][27]
  • Opera – WebGL has been implemented in Opera 11 and 12, although disabled by default.[28][29]
  • Internet Explorer – WebGL is partially supported in Internet Explorer 11.[30][31][32][33] It initially failed the majority of official WebGL conformance tests, but Microsoft later released several updates. The latest 0.94 WebGL engine currently passes ~97% of Khronos tests.[1] WebGL support can also be manually added to earlier versions of Internet Explorer using third-party plugins such as IEWebGL.[34]

Mobile browsers[edit]

  • Android Browser - Basically unsupported, but the Sony Ericsson Xperia range of Android smartphones have had WebGL capabilities following a firmware upgrade.[35] Samsung smartphones also have WebGL enabled (verified on Galaxy SII (4.1.2) and Galaxy Note 8.0 (4.2)). Supported in Google Chrome that replaced Android browser in many phones (but is not a new standard Android Browser).
  • Internet Explorer - WebGL is available on Windows Phone 8.1
  • BlackBerry PlayBook – WebGL is available via WebWorks and browser in PlayBook OS 2.00[36]
  • Firefox for mobile – WebGL is available for Android devices since Firefox 4.[37]
  • Firefox OS
  • Google Chrome - WebGL is available for Android devices since Google Chrome 25 and enabled by default since version 30.[38]
  • Maemo - In Nokia N900, WebGL is available in the stock microB browser from the PR1.2 firmware update onwards.[39]
  • Opera Mobile - Opera Mobile 12 supports WebGL (on Android only).[40]
  • Tizen
  • Ubuntu Touch
  • WebOS
  • iOS - Mobile Safari supports WebGL in iOS 8.[41]

Content creation and ecosystem[edit]

The WebGL API may be too tedious to use directly without some utility libraries, which for example set up typical view transformation shaders (e.g. for view frustum). Loading scene graphs and 3D objects in the popular industry formats is also not directly provided for. JavaScript libraries have been built (or sometimes ported to WebGL) to provide the additional functionality. A non-exhaustive list of libraries that provide many high-level features includes three.js, O3D, OSG.JS, and GLGE. There also has been a rapid emergence of game engines for WebGL,[42] including Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5.[43] The Stage3D/Flash-based Away3D high-level library also has a port to WebGL via TypeScript.[20][44] A more light-weight utility library that provides just the vector and matrix math utilities for shaders is sylvester.js.[45][46] It is sometimes used in conjunction with a WebGL specific extension called glUtils.js.[45][47]

There are also some 2D libraries built on top of WebGL like Cocos2d-x or Pixi.js, which were implemented this way for performance reasons, in a move that parallels what happened with the Starling Framework over Stage3D in the Flash world. The WebGL-based 2D libraries fall back to HTML5 canvas when WebGL is not available.[48]

Removing the rendering bottleneck by giving almost direct access to the GPU also exposed performance limitations in the JavaScript implementations. Some were addressed by asm.js. (Similarly, the introduction of Stage3D exposed performance problems within ActionScript, which were addressed by projects like CrossBridge.)[48]

Creating content for WebGL scenes often means using a regular 3D content creation tool and exporting the scene to a format that is readable by the viewer or helper library. Desktop 3D authoring software such as Blender or Autodesk Maya can be used for this purpose, but there are also some WebGL-specific software such as CopperCube or an online WebGL-based editors such as Clara.io. Online platforms such as Sketchfab allow users to directly upload their 3D models and display them using a hosted WebGL viewer.

Additionally, Mozilla Firefox implemented built-in WebGL tools starting with version 27 that allow editing vertex and fragment shaders.[49] A number of other debugging and profiling tools have also emerged.[50]

X3D also made a project called X3DOM to make X3D and VRML content running on WebGL. The 3D model will in XML tag <X3D> in HTML5 and interactive script will use JavaScript and DOM. BS Content Studio and InstantReality X3D exporter can exported X3D in HTML and running by WebGL.[citation needed]

Security[edit]

Similar technologies for 3D in a browser[edit]

Java OpenGL is fairly similar layer to WebGL in the Java world, whereas Stage3D is the equivalent layer in Adobe Flash Player 11 and later. Google Native Client also supports OpenGL ES 2.0.[51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Khronos Releases Final WebGL 1.0 Specification". Retrieved 2015-05-18. 
  2. ^ Gregg Tavares (2012-02-09). "WebGL Fundamentals". HTML5 Rocks. 
  3. ^ Tony Parisi (2012-08-15). "WebGL: Up and Running". O'Reilly Media, Incorporated. 
  4. ^ a b c "WebGL – OpenGL ES 2.0 for the Web". Khronos.org. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  5. ^ "WebGL Specification". Khronos.org. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  6. ^ "Canvas 3D: GL power, web-style". Blog.vlad1.com. Retrieved 2011-05-14. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Taking the canvas to another dimension". My.opera.com. 2007-11-26. Archived from the original on 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  8. ^ "Khronos Details WebGL Initiative to Bring Hardware-Accelerated 3D Graphics to the Internet". Khronos.org. 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  9. ^ "Google Body – Google Labs". Bodybrowser.googlelabs.com. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  10. ^ Bhanoo, Sindya N. (2010-12-23). "New From Google: The Body Browser". Well.blogs.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  11. ^ "AUTODESK FUSION 360: THE FUTURE OF CAD, PT. 1". 3dcadworld.com. Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  12. ^ "WebGL 2 Specification". khronos.org. 2013-09-26. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  13. ^ WebGL test page
  14. ^ http://webglreport.com/
  15. ^ http://www.browserleaks.com/webgl
  16. ^ Paul Mah (February 8, 2011). "Google releases Chrome 9; comes with Google Instant, WebGL – FierceCIO:TechWatch". FierceCIO. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  17. ^ http://learningwebgl.com/blog/?p=3103
  18. ^ a b c http://www.geeks3d.com/20130611/webgl-how-to-enable-native-opengl-in-your-browser-windows/
  19. ^ http://blog.chromium.org/2010/03/introducing-angle-project.html
  20. ^ a b http://learningwebgl.com/blog/?p=5956
  21. ^ http://blog.tojicode.com/2013/09/at-last-chrome-d3d11-day-has-come.html
  22. ^ "Mozilla Firefox 4 Release Notes". Mozilla.com. 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  23. ^ "New in OS X Lion: Safari 5.1 brings WebGL, Do Not Track and more". Fairerplatform.com. 2011-05-03. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  24. ^ "Enable WebGL in Safari". Ikriz.nl. 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  25. ^ "Getting a WebGL Implementation". Khronos.org. 2012-01-13. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  26. ^ "Implementations/WebKit". Khronos.org. 2011-09-03. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  27. ^ "WebGL Now Available in WebKit Nightlies". Webkit.org. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  28. ^ "WebGL and Hardware Acceleration". My.opera.com. 2011-02-28. Archived from the original on 2011-03-03. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  29. ^ "Introducing Opera 12 alpha". My.opera.com. 2011-10-13. Archived from the original on 2011-10-15. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  30. ^ http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/library/ie/bg182648%28v=vs.85%29
  31. ^ "Internet Explorer 11 Preview guide for developers". Microsoft. 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  32. ^ "WebGL". Microsoft. 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  33. ^ "Internet Explorer 11 to support WebGL and MPEG Dash". Engadget. 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  34. ^ "IEWebGL". Iewebgl. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  35. ^ "Xperia™ phones first to support WebGL™ – Developer World". blogs.sonyericsson.com. The Sony Ericsson Developer Program. 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2011-12-05. 
  36. ^ Halevy, Ronen. "PlayBook OS 2.0 Developer Beta Includes WebGL, Flash 11, & AIR 3.0". BerryReview. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  37. ^ iclkevin (2011-11-12). "WebGL on Mobile Devices". iChemLabs. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  38. ^ Kersey, Jason. "Chrome Beta for Android Update". Chrome Releases Blog. Google. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  39. ^ suihkulokki (2010-06-07). "WebGL on N900". Suihkulokki.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  40. ^ "Opera Mobile 12". Opera Software. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  41. ^ Cunningham, Andrew. "iOS 8, Thoroughly Reviewed". Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  42. ^ Tony Parisi (13 February 2014). Programming 3D Applications with HTML5 and WebGL: 3D Animation and Visualization for Web Pages. "O'Reilly Media, Inc.". pp. 364–366. ISBN 978-1-4493-6395-6. 
  43. ^ http://www.anandtech.com/show/8354/tegra-k1-lands-in-acers-newest-chromebook
  44. ^ http://away3d.com/comments/away3d_typescript_4.1_alpha
  45. ^ a b Alexey Boreskov; Evgeniy Shikin (2014). Computer Graphics: From Pixels to Programmable Graphics Hardware. CRC Press. p. 370. ISBN 978-1-4398-6730-3. 
  46. ^ Andreas Anyuru (2012). Professional WebGL Programming: Developing 3D Graphics for the Web. John Wiley & Sons. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-119-94058-6. 
  47. ^ Steve Fulton; Jeff Fulton (2013). HTML5 Canvas (2nd ed.). "O'Reilly Media, Inc.". p. 624. ISBN 978-1-4493-3588-5. 
  48. ^ a b http://typedarray.org/the-webgl-potential/
  49. ^ https://hacks.mozilla.org/2013/11/live-editing-webgl-shaders-with-firefox-developer-tools/
  50. ^ http://www.realtimerendering.com/blog/webgl-debugging-and-profiling-tools/
  51. ^ Remi Arnaud (2011). "3D in a Web Browser". In Eric Lengyel. Game Engine Gems 2. CRC Press. pp. 199–228. ISBN 978-1-56881-437-7. 

External links[edit]