In early 1994, Tim Berners-Lee put out an open call for a virtual reality specification for
the Web; Mark Pesce and I answered. Only being able to afford one plane ticket, we sent
Mark to Geneva to present our Labyrinth prototype at the first-ever World Wide Web
Developers’ Conference. With typical bombast, Mark announced to the packed room
that we had “already done it.” Our demo was simple but to the point: a rotating 3D object
in a window that, when clicked, launched a web browser and navigated to a hyperlink.
Within a few weeks, we had a mailing list, and Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML),
the seminal effort to put 3D on the Web, was underway.
A decade and a half later, 3D had finally made it into the browser, though it wouldn’t be
in the form that Mark and I imagined. VRML was well intentioned but far too early—
before broadband connections and dedicated graphics hardware were mainstream.
VRML inspired successors and copycats, but those too fell by the wayside. Technologies
came and went as people continued to hammer away at the problem. Finally, around
2009, we reached the turning point: the industry rallied around a new standard called
WebGL. It’s 2012 now, and it appears that WebGL is here to stay.
ware on your machine. Based on OpenGL ES (the same graphics running in your
smartphone and tablet), it is developed and supported by the makers of major desktop
and mobile web browsers. With WebGL, any programmer can create stunning graphics
that reach millions of users via the Web: no-download games, big data visualizations,
product displays, training simulations…the list goes on.
Understand core 3D graphics concepts and how to implement them in WebGL
Create WebGL sample pages as you learn, and build a racing game application in the final chapter
Get to know the Three.js open source library in detail
Develop working knowledge of graphics rendering, texturing, animation, interaction, and behaviors
Seamlessly integrate 3D graphics with other content on the page
Learn the tools, file formats, and techniques for developing robust and secure applications in a production environment
"WebGL: Up and Running is an ideal introduction to the world of 3D programming on the web. It’s well-written, clear, and fun. I wish it had been around when I started learning!"
—Giles Thomas, LearningWebGL.com