WebVR API vs. A-Frame: What's The Difference? - Empact Labs
Breaking down and comparing the top two frameworks for building Virtual Reality environments on the web.
mozilla, firefox, WebVR, VR, virtual reality, a-frame, frameworks
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webvr api vs aframe

WebVR API vs. A-Frame: What’s The Difference?

WebVR API versus A-Frame

 
With the advent of WebVR and all the implications surrounding which platforms to use and where to begin, we wanted to break down and compare the top two frameworks for building Virtual Reality environments on the web, WebVR API and A-Frame. Let’s begin.

WebVR API

WebVR is a JavaScript browser API that is acts as an interface for the VR hardware. WebVR is cross-platform and can be used to develop, view and share VR content on any browser that supports VR. The WebVR API provides interfaces to VR hardware to allow developers to build compelling, comfortable VR experiences on the web. [1]

A-Frame

A-Frame is a virtual reality framework that is built upon the WebVR API. A-Frame uses the WebVR API to gain access to VR headset sensor data (position, orientation) to transform the camera and to render content directly to VR headsets. [2]   A-Frame must use WebVR API to push the sensor data and the VR content to the VR headsets. Thus, A-Frame is an open community project that uses the WebVR API along with the Entity-Component architecture to elucidate the development of the VR content for browsers using HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Three.js.

Like A-Frame, there exists a WebVR Boilerplate which is a Three.js based starting point for cross-platform web-based VR experiences. [3] This WebVR Boilerplate is also built on the WebVR API and it is heavily dependent on WebVR Polyfill (JavaScript implementation of WebVR spec) and the WebVR UI.

There are various projects, associated with WebVR, that are like A-Frame which help in developing immersive VR experience for the web.

The list is as follows: [4]

  • JanusVR:  JanusVR is a suite of software that makes it simple to create, share and experience spatially rich internet content.[9]
  • Archilogic has successfully used WebVR to produce 3D models that can be visited in virtual reality.
  • Blend4Web is used for authoring WebVR-based applications such as heritage reconstruction and games.[11]
  • Kokowa: Kokowa is a webVR publishing platform aimed at non-programmers. It provides a drag and drop editor to build and share webVR experiences on the web and on social media.[12]
  • Goocreate: Goo Create is a cloud based 3D WebGL content creation editor. It can be used to create games, ads, campaign websites product showcases and scientific visualizations that run in a web browser.
  • PlayCanvas: PlayCanvas is an open source 3D game engine/interactive 3D application engine.
  • Vizor: Vizor is a platform for creating and sharing VR content on the web.
  • Sketchfab: allows people to display and share 3D content online. It provides a 3D model viewer that allows the display of 3D models on any mobile, desktop webpage or VRheadset.
  • X3DOM: is an open-source framework and runtime for 3D graphics on the Web including WebVR. It leverages X3D, the current ISO open standard for web3D.[13]

 

[1] https://w3c.github.io/webvr/
[2] https://aframe.io/docs/0.5.0/introduction/vr-headsets-and-webvr-browsers.html
[3] https://github.com/borismus/webvr-boilerplate/tree/98ee61479e6b45be88c626a19fd92146b88862b5
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebVR

 

Maithili Pannase
maithili@empactlabs.co
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