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Why WebXR: A Web Dev Niche that Could Explode

Posted on:July 25, 2023

Is WebXR a web developer niche that’s about to blow up?

A recent discussion came up in the WebXR Discord asking for the best arguments for doing XR on the web.

Drawing on the discussion led by Sorskoot (‘Why WebXR’) with Yinch, Arthur, Synn, and De Panther, there were some clear themes emerging I wanted to share here. There are also many reasons why you might not want to go web for your project but lets take a look at some of the reasons to jump into webXR.

Platform Neutrality

WebXR applications are platform-agnostic, meaning they can run on any device with a browser that supports the necessary APIs, regardless of its operating system.

Ease of Access

WebXR apps are easy to access and share. There’s no need to download or install anything; folks simply open a URL and they’re ready to go. This reduces the barriers to entry for people, who might be deterred by the need to install a large app. It also increases the potential for virality since sharing a WebXR app is as simple as sharing a URL.

Open Standards

WebXR is based on open standards, which fosters a sense of community and collaboration. Developers can contribute to the evolution of technology and share their code with others. This openness also helps protect against the dominance of proprietary, closed-source platforms.

Cost-Effective Publishing

Since there’s no app store involvement, developers can avoid the fees that come with publishing on those platforms and have more control over distribution of their work. This makes WebXR a more cost-effective solution, particularly for smaller developers or those just starting out.

Rapid Prototyping and Iteration

WebXR allows for quicker iterations and experiments. Changes can be made to the code and instantly seen in the browser, accelerating the feedback loop and enabling faster development cycles. This is a big advantage over native engines where every change necessitates a new build and a lengthy compilation process.

Capabilities-Based/Progressive Enhancement

The capabilities-based approach of WebXR allows developers to build apps that can handle new devices without the need for significant adjustments or the creation of a new app. This approach gives WebXR a forward-compatible nature, enabling it to adapt more easily.

Interested in seeing some examples of XR on the web? Check out this post.