Introduction

Note: This documentation is for the old 0.3.0 version of A-Frame. Check out the documentation for the current 0.7.0 version

What is A-Frame?

A-Frame is an open-source WebVR framework for creating virtual reality (VR) experiences with HTML. We can build VR scenes that work across smartphones, desktop, the Oculus Rift, and the room-scale HTC Vive.

<html>
<head>
<script src="https://aframe.io/releases/0.3.2/aframe.min.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<a-scene>
<a-box color="#6173F4" opacity="0.8" depth="2"></a-box>
<a-sphere radius="2" src="texture.png" position="1 1 0"></a-sphere>
<a-sky color="#ECECEC"></a-sky>
</a-scene>
</body>
</html>

Entity-Component-System

Diving deeper, A-Frame is a three.js framework that brings the entity-component-system pattern to the DOM; everything in a scene is an entity which we compose and attach components to add any appearance, behavior, and functionality. Under the hood, <a-box> actually looks like:

<a-entity geometry="primitive: box; depth: 2"
material="color: #6173F4; opacity: 0.8"></a-entity>

<a-entity> represents an entity, attributes represent components, and attribute values represent component properties. Components can do anything. Say someone publishes a physics component and someone else publishes an explode component. We can compose them together and attach them to the entity to add the behavior of exploding on collision.

<a-entity geometry="primitive: box; depth: 2"
material="color: #6173F4; opacity: 0.8"
physics="mass: 5; boundingBox: 1 1 2"
explode="on: physics-collide; intensity: 3"></a-entity>

Why A-Frame?

A-Frame was built by the Mozilla VR team to make it quicker and easier to build 3D/VR scenes in order for them to prototype faster and to bridge the web development community into the WebVR ecosystem. For WebVR to succeed, it needs content. There are only a handful of WebGL developers in the world, but there are millions of web developers, designers, and artists. A-Frame puts 3D/VR content creation into the hands of everyone.

A-Frame Reduces Boilerplate

Without A-Frame, starting a proper WebVR project is a lot of effort. You need to know what you are doing and repeat the same tedious work for every scene:

WebVR should thrive with long-tail, bite-sized experiences, but boilerplate is a strong barrier to motivation of wanting to build. In A-Frame, all boilerplate is reduced to a single line of HTML: <a-scene>.

And rather than creating a mesh, creating a geometry, creating a material, then appending to scene, that is all also reduced to a single line of HTML.

A-Frame is Tailored for Web Developers

With A-Frame based on the DOM, we can manipulate scenes as we would with other web application: getAttribute, setAttribute, querySelector, etc. Most JavaScript frameworks and libraries integrate with A-Frame out of the box. d3, React, Vue.js, Meteor, jQuery all work like a charm. A-Frame was built by web developers for web developers.

A-Frame Provides Structure to three.js

“A-Frame is like when MVC landed in traditional front-end work…[where] three.js is like jQuery.” — @wizgrav

three.js has made it very accessible to develop 3D WebGL, but three.js code is often loosely structured. A-Frame provides a way to structure three.js code.

A-Frame is a declarative entity-component-system framework for three.js.

Developers can modularize three.js and JavaScript code within A-Frame components. These components can be composed with one another. If published and shared, these components can be used by other developers via HTML.

Have Fun!

It is recommended to read through the Guides and the Core sections of the documentation. If you have any questions, join the other hundreds of developers on Slack!