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Definition

WebGL

WebGL is a graphics application programming interface (API) created for use in web applications. It is based off the open graphics language (OpenGL) embedded standard (ES).

WebGL is used by developers to provide a platform-independent means of creating interactive graphical applications on the web. WebGL is not only used to draw the graphics of 2D and 3D games, but also to accelerate the functions of web based image editors and their effects, as well as physics simulations.

Although WebGL is functionally based off OpenGL ES, it is partly written in JavaScript. WebGL is used to render interactive 2D and 3D graphics in compatible web browsers. The API allows users to experience interactive content on webpages, with GPU acceleration, without having to first download or install any plug-ins. For developers, WebGL provides low-level access to hardware with the familiar code structure of OpenGL ES.

WebGL was originally created by Mozilla. The API is currently designed and maintained by the non-profit Khronos Group as two part code: control code and shader code. Control code is written in JavaScript and processed on the CPU. Shader code which is written in OpenGL ES, which has much in common with languages like C or C++, and is processed on the GPU.

This was last updated in April 2019

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