Learning WebGL

Word is starting to get around so I might as well cop to it: as of today I have official taken over as Editor-in-Chief of Learning WebGL. While I fancy myself more a programmer than a journalist, I must say that the opportunity to guide this great site into the future was simply too good to pass up.

Giles Thomas created Learning WebGL in 2009, when WebGL was just getting going. Most browsers didn’t do WebGL yet, and if they did, they did it wrong or they all did it differently. There was no documentation, other than the specification, which is itself based on the public spec for OpenGL ES. To say that the spec is obscure and a tough read for any but the experience 3D graphics programmer would be an understatement. I’m a fairly experienced 3D programmer, and my first look at the spec back in 2010 was nerve wracking. So I googled, and found Learning WebGL.

Giles started the site as a way to teach himself WebGL programming. He wisely chose existing OpenGL tutorials as a starting point and built from there. In the four years since, he has created an awesome resource, the first stop of any programmer’s wanderings through the thicket of information that comprises WebGL development. If Learning WebGL didn’t exist, I’m not sure I could have written my book, or made sense of what Mr. Doob’s Three.js code was doing half of the time. (Open source is great, but unfortunately in this modern world, access to the source has become synonymous with no documentation.)

Giles has given the world a fantastic gift. I hope I am equal to the challenge of maintaining it.

For the “official story” of the site’s leadership change, you can read the press release here.

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4 thoughts on “Learning WebGL

  1. At the risk of sounding like Monty Python’s four yorkshiremen… There wasn’t even a WebGL specification when I started writing the lessons – it was a case of following other people’s demos, looking at the Firefox source, and making educated guesses about which bits they’d borrowed from OpenGL and which from OpenGL ES (they’d not fully switched to ES yet).

    “But you know, we were happy in those days…”

  2. Alias UGLY again – as luck would have it, the second this news came out, Chrome auto-updated and BROKE full scene antialiasing. Really, 3D gods? Really?

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