FAQ

Note: This documentation is for the old 0.4.0 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 web framework for building virtual reality experiences. We can build VR web pages that we can walk inside with just HTML. Under the hood, it is a three.js framework that brings the entity-component-system pattern to the DOM.

Why was A-Frame built?

A-Frame was built to make virtual reality more accessible to the web community and to kick-start the WebVR content ecosystem. It is easy to learn and fast to develop, allowing us to quickly prototype patterns and experiences. A-Frame is a vehicle in which to make WebVR successful.

How can I get started?

Read the Introduction to get a deeper feel of what A-Frame is.

See the Getting Started guide to get set up.

Check out the guides for basic tutorials.

Past that, you can browse the resources on the awesome-aframe repository. If you need additional support, ask on StackOverflow.

How is A-Frame’s performance?

The layout system of the DOM have been one of the primary performance bottlenecks for web applications. A-Frame uses the DOM via Custom Elements as effectively data containers for objects in the scene graph. These elements are not touched by the browser’s rendering system and ultimately rendered with WebGL. This allows us to run 90+ FPS room-scale experiences in the HTC Vive. See A-Painter for an example of a full A-Frame application running with smooth performance.

  • The effects of setAttribute are synchronous. When modifying an entity’s position, there is almost zero overhead. Doing setAttribute('position', {x: 1, y: 2, z: 3}) is practically directly modifying the underlying three.js objects themselves.
  • When changing an entity’s properties, data is not serialized back to the DOM. This reduces the DOM overhead and most modifications are done directly in memory, similar to Virtual DOM.
  • HTML attributes explicitly set from an HTML file are cached in memory.

A-Frame provides reasonable defaults that yield good performance for the most common use cases. However, performance is ultimately determined by the complexity and characteristics of each individual scene. To get the best use of resources, we will need deeper understanding about 3D graphics. Read these best performance practices and guidelines to help get you started.

Why does my asset (e.g., image, video, model) not load?

If you are loading the asset from a different domain, make sure that the asset is served with cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) headers. You could either find a host to serve the asset with CORS headers, or place the asset on the same domain as your scene.

For some options, all resources hosted on GitHub Pages are served with CORS headers. We recommend GitHub Pages as a simple deployment platform. Or you could also upload assets using the A-Frame + Uploadcare Uploader, a service that serves files with CORS headers set.

Why is the HTML/DOM not updating in A-Frame?

For performance reasons, A-Frame does not update the DOM with component data. Use the debug component to enable component-to-DOM serialization.

Why does my video not play on mobile?

Mobile browsers have limitations with displaying inline video.

Because of an iOS platform restriction in order to get inline video (with or without autoplay), we must:

  • Set the <meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes"> meta tag (will be injected if missing).
  • Set the webkit-playsinline attribute to the video element (is automatically added to all videos).
  • Pin the webpage to the iOS homescreen.

Inline video support on iOS 10 may change this. On certain Android devices or browsers, we must:

  • Require user interaction to trigger the video (such as a click or tap event). See Chromium Bug 178297.

We will try to create a video boilerplate that has all the configurations to work on mobile devices.

How do I display <iframe>s or render HTML in A-Frame?

As a limitation of the browser, <iframe>s cannot be displayed in A-Frame, used as a texture, or be mixed with WebGL or WebVR. While it is possible to [overlay an iframe on top of the scene, it will not display properly in VR with proper distortion nor can it be shaded.

Solutions involve painting to a <canvas> and using the canvas as source for a texture. There are some components in the ecosystem that enable this:

How do I display text in A-Frame?

There are several possible solutions:

Where can I find assets?

In general, awesome-stock-resources is a great collection of free assets.

For 3D models, also check out:

Can I render YouTube videos as a texture?

With manual effort, you could either proxy YouTube videos as a texture or download them locally to serve, but that is against their terms of service.

For inspiration, Chris Van has a project that proxies YouTube videos for WebVR.

We (Mozilla) are currently improving the link traversal user experience within the browser as well as helping iterate the API. Once link traversal gets into a good state on the platform side, A-Frame should have a link component ready.

What type of units does A-Frame use?

A-Frame uses life-like meters. It maintains a 1:1 ratio. 5 units in A-Frame is equal to 5 meters in real life. Furthermore, when using programs like Blender, configured in imperial or metric mode, measurements will also translate 1:1. 10 feet in Blender will equal 10 feet in real life.

How is A-Frame different from VRML?

A-Frame is a JavaScript framework, not a 3D or web standard. It embraces the Extensible Web Manifesto. Only look at standardization as winning ideas emerge.

More technically, A-Frame is built on top of an entity-component-system pattern, is fully extensible, and integrates well with all of the existing web development frameworks and tools.

Does A-Frame support X feature?

A-Frame ships with a handful of components and primitives. However being based on top of an entity-component-system pattern, if a feature doesn’t exist, you can write a component to enable it. Or if one of the standard components is too limiting, you can fork it.

Check out what the features that the ecosystem has enabled at awesome-aframe’s collection of components.

Does A-Frame support X library or framework?

A-Frame is built on top of the DOM so most libraries and frameworks work out of the box. We’ve found A-Frame works wonderfully with:

Does A-Frame support Leap Motion?

Don McCurdy has published a Leap Hands component for Leap Motion controls.

Dr. Ryan James has built a medical education project that also features Leap Motion controls code.

Which devices, headsets, platforms does A-Frame support?

See Device and Platform Support.

How do I improve performance?

See Best Practices.

How can I share my work?

If you make something with A-Frame, please share it with us! Any of the channels below are great:

How can I get in touch with the A-Frame team?

We are an extremely responsive and helpful bunch:

We love questions, feedback, bug reports, and pull requests!

Where is the roadmap?

Yes, check out the A-Frame Roadmap on GitHub

Do I call it “A-Frame” or “aframe” or “aframevr” or “aFrame”?

A-Frame!