One Minute Bottom Line
“WebGL: Up and running” is an excellent
introduction to WebGL with good examples and a nice overview of the technology.
examples. This gets you up and running fast, but also means that you will get
more familiar with Three.JS than with WebGL itself.
WebGL is one of the hottest new technologies of the Web and it brings hardware accelerated computer graphics into your browser without needing to install any plugin. This unleashes the power of your graphics card and makes your browser able to render advanced 2D and 3D graphics with a high framerate. Since most computations are performed on the graphics card, the graphics capabilities of WebGL powered browsers are almost identical to games and other graphics heavy applications. Today over 65% of all desktop users have already a browser with full WebGL support and the next generation of tables and mobile phones will also be shipped with full WebGL support.
WebGL also attracts a different type of programmer; graphics programmers with a background in C/C++ who wants to use WebGL to show off their skills and try out this new API. I think the C/C++ programmers would find the book too high-level, since the book uses a lot of abstraction to make things easy for the programmers.
After the introduction to WebGL and Three.js, the book describes graphics including meshes, materials, textures and lights. Then it explains how to interact with a WebGL program and how WebGL can be mixed with other HTML technologies. Finally it gives some insights of important details to be aware of when using WebGL for an actual application. The last chapter takes you through a full game creation – all the way from a rough prototype to a full functional game.
The books works well as an introduction to WebGL, but if you want to be serious about WebGL development you would need some more theory to understand all the details fully. Another advanced topic only briefly discussed in the book is shader programming using GLSL.