We live in a world of entertainment and information overflow. That‘s why it‘s hard to capture the attention of your audience and captivate the viewer. Of course, you have limited tools for engagement as far as as the design of your website is concerned. Templates, ads and similar simple bells-and-whistles can only take you that far. But what if you had some solid interactivity built into your website? What if your website had interactive elements that ran on HTML and didn‘t require any plug-ins and ponderous downloads?

Then you would be entering the wonderful world of WebGL. It is a standard developed by the non-profit Khronos Corporations, an in-industry conglomerate that was created to develop open source software available to all. WebGL is one of their greatest creations, and it is extremely widespread. WebGL is supported by a wide variety of internet browser software, from Google Chrome to Microsoft Edge to Safari to all sorts of mobile browsers. Yes, WebGL can help you reach that elusive mobile market, somewhere that Flash is unable to take you due to certain software restrictions.

WebGL is a JavaScript application programing interface (API) that is completely integrated into any browser and meshes seamlessly with the HTML canvas of the page. This integration allows WebGL to access the GPU with a far more powerful use of physics, image processing and the effects. The programs consist of control code written in JavaScript and a shader code used by the GPU. And basically, due to the tight integration, WebGL elements can be used on any part of the webpage, or even the background!

Using WebGL opens a world of possibilities. You can start with some relatively simple interactive elements embedded into the page. Nothing complicated, just something like a bird flying over an endless landscape, controlled by the mouse movements of the website visitor. That isn‘t that hard to do, and it doesn‘t take up too much of computer resources. And the complexity of the program can be scaled up as your requirements rise. Say, you are vendor that sells smartphones. But you want a presentation that is more impressive that a simple picture and some technical stats. That why you take up WebGL to make an interactive presentation that lets the user take the phone apart, rotate the pieces, and read the relevant information. You immediately grab their attention!

And that‘s without getting into the game making capabilities of WebGL. The API is capable of rendering both 3D and 2D, so that serves for basically any game you could want to make. Does your car business need an interactive ad where the customer can customize and race cars? That‘s possible. An interactive globe, where they customer can fly a plane to available travel destinations? It‘s there. A side scroller about fighting germs or whatever it is that your product targets? You can create it!. All that without any tedious plug-in or service downloads. Everything is available organically on your website!

One of the best things about WebGL is that it‘s free. And development tools for it are free, too! Scripting everything in JavaScript would be tedious and hard – that‘s why people have been releasing libraries that basically act as game engines and developer tools for WebGL. Some are almost entirely free and very much user friendly – WebCreate and Turbulenz being some of the better examples of this category. Others are somewhat more involving, yet still powerful and completely free – CopperLicht and Babylon.js are good examples of thi0 kind of open source software stuff. You only need to get low polygon models from some online model marketplace, and you‘re halfway there!

WebGL is a wonderful resource for someone who wants to make their website pop. It‘s widely supported and runs basically on every browser. It‘s efficient in its use of resources. The development tools are free. Assets can be easily found on online marketplaces. You only need to use it!