While Apple and Google have paved the way for developers to create web-based AR experiences through their respective mobile toolkits, an open source option has entered the space.
On Wednesday, A-Frame gained support for the WebXR standard on version 79 of Chrome browsers for ARCore-compatible Android devices. This enables developers to publish AR content via HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure) websites.
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According to documentation posted just days ago, users will need to enable the WebXR AR Module within the experimental chrome://flags settings and then restart the browser to apply the settings.
AR experiences built with A-Frame version 1.0.3 or newer automatically detect the presence of the AR Module and display an AR button to launch the experience.
A sample experience featuring a spinosaurus is available to demonstrate the functionality. Developers Marc Heller and Gabriel Martins also shared their own experiments via Twitter.
The WebXR AR Module support in A-Frame currently has some limitations, such as lacking interactivity. However, this will be addressed in future versions of A-Frame via hit test and document object model (DOM) overlay layer features.
The open source A-Frame framework was originally created by Mozilla, but it is now maintained by the tool's co-creators at VR studio Supermedium. Serving primarily as a VR platform, the framework enables developers to create immersive experiences via HTML coding. Its web-based AR capabilities were previously applied in the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Blu-Ray promotional experience from 8th Wall.
With AR Quick Look in ARKit and Scene Viewer in ARCore, along with the 8th Wall Web platform, web-based AR has evolved quickly over the past year and a half.
The simplicity and openness of A-Frame's platform could accelerate the growth of web-based AR experiences in the wild.
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