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WebGL Programming Guide


Author: Kouichi Matsuda

Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional


Publish Date: July 19, 2013

ISBN-10: 321902920

Pages: 600

File Type: Epub, PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

WebGL is a technology that enables drawing, displaying, and interacting with sophisticated interactive three-dimensional computer graphics (“3D graphics”) from within web browsers. Traditionally, 3D graphics has been restricted to high-end computers or dedicated game consoles and required complex programming. However, as both personal computers and, more importantly, web browsers have become more sophisticated, it has become possible to create and display 3D graphics using accessible and well-known web technologies. This book provides a comprehensive overview of WebGL and takes the reader, step by step, through the basics of creating WebGL applications. Unlike other 3D graphics technologies such as OpenGL and Direct3D, WebGL applications can be constructed as web pages so they can be directly executed in the browsers without installing any special plug-ins or libraries. Therefore, you can quickly develop and try out a sample program with a standard PC environment; because everything is web based, you can easily publish the programs you have constructed on the web. One of the promises of WebGL is that, because WebGL applications are constructed as web pages, the same program can be run across a range of devices, such as smart phones, tablets, and game consoles, through the browser. This powerful model means that WebGL will have a significant impact on the developer community and will become one of the preferred tools for graphics programming.

Who the Book Is For

We had two main audiences in mind when we wrote this book: web developers looking to add 3D graphics to their web pages and applications, and 3D graphics programmers wishing to understand how to apply their knowledge to the web environment. For web developers who are familiar with standard web technologies such as HTML and JavaScript and who are looking to incorporate 3D graphics into their web pages or web applications, WebGL offers a simple yet powerful solution. It can be used to add 3D graphics to enhance web pages, to improve the user interface (UI) for a web application by using a 3D interface, and even to develop more complex 3D applications and games that run in web browsers.

The second target audience is programmers who have worked with one of the main 3D application programming interfaces (APIs), such as Direct3D or OpenGL, and who are interested in understanding how to apply their knowledge to the web environment. We would expect these programmers to be interested in the more complex 3D applications that can be developed in modern web browsers.

However, the book has been designed to be accessible to a wide audience using a step-by-step approach to introduce features of WebGL, and it assumes no background in 2D or 3D graphics. As such, we expect it also to be of interest to the following:

• General programmers seeking an understanding of how web technologies are evolving in the graphics area

• Students studying 2D and 3D graphics because it offers a simple way to begin to experiment with graphics via a web browser rather than setting up a full programming environment

• Web developers exploring the “bleeding edge” of what is possible on mobile devices such as Android or iPhone using the latest mobile web browsers

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