WebGL brings plugin-free 3D to the web and is a 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 (DOM) interfaces

WebGL code utilises the computer display card’s Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which must provide support for shader rendering.

Version 1.0 of the specification was released on March 3, 2011 and is based on OpenGL ES 2.0 Details can be found at

WebGL is managed by the non-profit Khronos Group.

and is currently supported in the Safari 5.1 (Apple), Chrome v9.0 (Google), Firefox v8.0 (Mozilla) and Opera v1 (Opera) web-browsers. Microsoft has not announced any plans to provide support for WebGL.

One of the first applications based on WebGL was Google Body which has formed the basis of the open source project open-3d-viewer.

Several libraries have been created to help with the development of WebGL applications.

One of these is SceneJS which will be explored in later posts.