WebXR in 2020
In 2020, WebXR is beginning to mature…
- There’s a new home portal for WebXR projects
- A new GitHub for all things WebXR
- A WebXR emulator for Chrome and Firefox allows testing without a headset
- Both Google Chrome and Firefox have made WebXR a default for their distribution browsers. The Firefox WebXR portal has matured:
- A simple framework for viewing models in AR
- Frameworks allowing authoring like PlayCanvas, Argon.js, babylon.js, three.js, React 360 and A-frame have also stabilized
Compared to native code authoring in as Unreal Engine, Unity 3D, Vuforia, Wikitude, WebXR has a couple of advantages for building virtual worlds. First, it runs in the browser, so there is no separate app download step. Second, it can run in a variety of modes – anything from “magic window” (move the smartphone around to see an otherwise invisible scene) to high-end headsets like Hololens, Oculus, NReal.
The addition of WebXR exports from Unity is a greate enabler for WebXR. Now, Unity developers can work in their favorite platform, and then export to WebXR instead of a native Unity app.
The biggest limitation of WebXR is limited AR support. All the libraries and frameworks are pretty good at creating a VR space, but sometimes struggle to create a good user AR esperience.