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Hello WebGL
license: gpl-3.0

Every introductory WebGL tutorial I could find uses utility libraries (e.g., Sylvester) in efforts to make the examples easier to understand. While encapsulating common patterns is desirable when writing production code, I find this practice highly counterproductive to learning because it forces me to learn the utility library first (another layer of abstraction) before I can understand the underlying standard. Even worse when accompanying examples use minified JavaScript…

So here’s a vanilla Hello World with no dependencies and no branching. Enjoy.

Next: Part II

<!DOCTYPE html>
<meta charset="utf-8">
<canvas width="960" height="500"></canvas>
<script id="vertex-shader" type="x-shader/x-vertex">
attribute vec2 a_position;
void main(void) {
gl_Position = vec4(a_position, 0.0, 1.0);
<script id="fragment-shader" type="x-shader/x-fragment">
void main(void) {
gl_FragColor = vec4(0.0, 1.0, 0.0, 1.0);
// Select the canvas from the document.
var canvas = document.querySelector("canvas");
// Create the WebGL context, with fallback for experimental support.
var context = canvas.getContext("webgl")
|| canvas.getContext("experimental-webgl");
// Compile the vertex shader.
var vertexShader = context.createShader(context.VERTEX_SHADER);
context.shaderSource(vertexShader, document.querySelector("#vertex-shader").textContent);
if (!context.getShaderParameter(vertexShader, context.COMPILE_STATUS)) throw new Error(context.getShaderInfoLog(vertexShader));
// Compile the fragment shader.
var fragmentShader = context.createShader(context.FRAGMENT_SHADER);
context.shaderSource(fragmentShader, document.querySelector("#fragment-shader").textContent);
if (!context.getShaderParameter(fragmentShader, context.COMPILE_STATUS)) throw new Error(context.getShaderInfoLog(fragmentShader));
// Link and use the program.
var program = context.createProgram();
context.attachShader(program, vertexShader);
context.attachShader(program, fragmentShader);
if (!context.getProgramParameter(program, context.LINK_STATUS)) throw new Error(context.getProgramInfoLog(program));
// Define the positions (as vec2, in normalized coordinates) of the square that covers the canvas.
var positionBuffer = context.createBuffer();
context.bindBuffer(context.ARRAY_BUFFER, positionBuffer);
context.bufferData(context.ARRAY_BUFFER, new Float32Array([
-1.0, -1.0,
+1.0, -1.0,
+1.0, +1.0,
-1.0, +1.0
]), context.STATIC_DRAW);
// Bind the position buffer to the position attribute.
var positionAttribute = context.getAttribLocation(program, "a_position");
context.vertexAttribPointer(positionAttribute, 2, context.FLOAT, false, 0, 0);
// Draw the square!
context.drawArrays(context.TRIANGLE_FAN, 0, 4);
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ddnn55 commented Jun 13, 2018


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