WebXR (the successor to WebVR) and its Challenges

If you haven’t heard, WebXR is a new standard designed to augment and ultimately address the limitations of WebVR. While the WebVR API has allowed experimentation with VR in browsers, it didn’t support Augmented Reality (AR) adequately. In addition, the current WebVR spec has clear browser incompatibilities (e.g. doesn’t work on Safari, limited Chrome, FF, Edge support). and also has problems with “responsive VR”.

In the current WebVR spec, you have to manually develop code to support users on 2D screens, smartphone VR users, and desktop + Head-Mounted Device (HMD) users. It takes a lot of code to make a cross-browser and cross-device app, which in turn has greatly reduced the sustainability of WebVR projects.

WebXR hopes to change that. The new spec is supposed to provide a natural way to implement “responsive” VR plus AR apps, with cross-browser and cross-device transparency. Not there yet, but there are some early demos. It is supposed to enable native AR via Google’s AR Core and Apple’s ARKit. In addition, support is suggested for Khronos Group’s OpenXR standard.

You can try a few on your iOS device by downloading Mozilla’s WebXR demo:


Image result for webxr

Here’s a presentation on the move from WebVR to WebXR

From WebVR to WebXR, and Challenges in Getting it Right…

In particular, NOW is the time to get your two cents in on the discussion groups and Github sites listed in this presentation. WebVR started in a very promising, sustainable, and responsive way, but has undergone device and platform fragmentation limiting its use (with Unity VR performing the role of Adobe Flash in the early 2000s). WebXR might be the move to standards, equivalent to the shift to Web Standards in the mid-2000s with eliminated the need for Flash.


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