This article discusses the future prospects of WebGL (important technology to realize 3D configurators) and draws on the recently published article on

Negative criticism is right from the start.

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The tone of the title already raises doubts about the author’s bias.

WebGL is the specification of a 3D graphics library on the same level as OpenGL or Direct3D. This is based on OpenGL ES 2.0 (the OpenGL Embedded Specification) and allows the creation of websites with 3D content. With HTML 5 and Javascript, you can display graphics card accelerated rendering and thus benefit from the power of the GPU.

WebGL is not a 3D graphics library. The 3D library used by WebGL is OpenGL ES2.0 and sometimes calls to this library are transferred to DirectX via Angle, especially under Windows. WebGL is an interface between Javascript and OpenGL ES2, which makes it possible to use OpenGL via JavaScript.

WebGL offers much more than just displaying 3D content on web pages. With WebGL you can create interactive 3D applications such as games, 3D configurators, navigation interfaces or augmented reality in the browser.

Only HTML5 and JavaScript make graphic card accelerated rendering possible. WebGL, however, is not part of the HTML5 standard. HTML5 is a standard of the W3C, an industry consortium specialized in the web, while WebGL was developed by the Khronos group. The Khronos Group is an industrial consortium specializing in hardware acceleration.


Currently, the most popular browsers on the market support WebGL: firefox, chrome, safari, opera, explorer and mobile versions of firefox, opera and so on.

The information is pretty rough. The information given here is only very rough. For reliable support statistics, we recommend that you visit caniuse. com/webgl. For example, WebGL was only activated by default in the Safari browser from version 8 onwards.

It should be noted that WebGL, despite Safari’s early implementation of WebGL by Safari, was not enabled by default until version 8 of the browser (after IE11, which is enabled by default). WebGL will also be compatible with iOS Safari version 8 and is already compatible with the latest IE Mobile releases.

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Security gaps in the standard itself regularly cause strong reactions from the community.

When WebGL first came onto the market, Microsoft tried to establish its Silverlight technology in the market, which delayed the use of WebGL. Internet Explorer has implemented WebGL since version 11 and Microsoft continues to push the development of the Babylon JS engine. Currently, WebGL is still disabled if the GPU drivers do not have the necessary security requirements (even if they could run WebGL).

Also, it should not be forgotten that the graphical acceleration in WebGL is only available if the graphics card implements the specification correctly. This also led to a certain slowness in the development of OpenGL support, especially under Linux, where it was not very present. Now we can say that these concerns have generally been dispelled.

Under Linux, problems often occur with graphics card manufacturers who provide drivers for this operating system. With Nvidia there is no problem, but with ATI the driver installation is sometimes more difficult.

WebGL has a bright future!

Of course WebGL also has some disadvantages, which are shown in the following overview: no selection buffer, absence of 3D textures, no geometry shaders.

These three functions are not included in OpenGL ES2.0. Therefore, it is not possible to have them in WebGL. However, the selection buffer can still be emulated.

There is still no flagship application for this technology. JavaScript and browser overlay can also be a crucial factor in video games and intensive applications to prevent this standard from being adopted.

WebGL is in the process of achieving a desktop compatibility rate that allows commercial applications (66% according to Few developers are currently trained in this technology and large projects still require time. Decision-makers often do not know what this technology can achieve.

COD or Solidworks will never work in browsers. Players and CAD engineers have powerful machines, are ready to buy licenses, download the product. They are primarily looking for performance.

WebGL is currently not exactly in the same league as Unity, which offers a remarkable 3D creation workflow and recently made it possible to export Unity applications to WebGL. As a result, WebGL will not be as optimized and offer fewer features than proprietary technologies running on a limited number of platforms such as Metal.

The team of the Khronos Group consists of specialists for browser technologies (Chrome, Mozilla, Opera etc.), operating systems (Apple, Canonical etc.), hardware manufacturers (AMD, Nvidia etc.) and cooperates with renowned universities. The development process is complicated and takes time to get everyone involved to agree on a standard.

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WebGL will be interesting for the following applications: casual gamings, product configurators, 3D navigation interfaces, new web experiences and simulations.

WebGL will play a major role in the future development of the Internet and will become an integral part of our daily habits in a few years’ time.