Installation

This installation section offers several ways to get started with A-Frame, although most methods don’t require any actual installation since A-Frame is primarily HTML and JavaScript.

Code Editors in the Browser

The fastest way is to start playing from within the browser.

Remix on Glitch

Glitch

Glitch provides an online code editor with instant deployment and hosting of web sites. The editor supports both front-end and back-end code as well as multiple files and directories. Glitch lets us remix (i.e., copy) existing projects and make them our own and instantly host and deploy changes for everyone to see.

Hit Remix on this A-Frame project, mess with the HTML in index.html, and see your site published live on each change! The base A-Frame Glitch, for example, is published at aframe.glitch.me, but we will provide your own custom URL name.

Below are a few other A-Frame Glitches for starters:

Other Code Editors

Below are a couple of A-Frame starter kits on other browser-based code editors. Both support remixing or forking:

Local Development

Use a Local Server

For the options below, we should develop projects using a local server so that files are properly served. Options of local servers include:

  • Downloading the Mongoose application and opening it from the same directory as your HTML file.
  • Running python -m SimpleHTTPServer (or python -m http.server for Python 3) in a terminal in the same directory as your HTML file.
  • Running npm install -g live-server && live-server in a terminal in the same directory as your HTML file.

Once we are running our server, we can open our project in the browser using the local URL and port which the server is running on (e.g., http://localhost:8000). Try not to open the project using the file:// protocol which does not provide a domain; absolute and relative URLs may not work.

Download the Boilerplate on GitHub

The boilerplate contains:

We can grab the boilerplate in one of two ways:

Fork on GitHub
(Note this is marked as ‘discontinued’, the Aframe version packaged with this is 0.5)

Download .ZIP

Include the JS Build

To include A-Frame in an HTML file, we drop a <script> tag pointing to the CDN build:

<head>
<script src="https://aframe.io/releases/1.1.0/aframe.min.js"></script>
</head>

If we want to serve it ourselves, we can download the JS build:

Production Version 1.1.0 Minified Development Version 1.1.0 Uncompressed with Source Maps

Install from npm

We can also install A-Frame through npm:

$ npm install aframe

Then we can bundle A-Frame into our application. For example, with Browserify or Webpack:

require('aframe');

If you use npm, you can use angle, a command line interface for A-Frame. angle can initialize a scene template with a single command:

npm install -g angle && angle initscene

Cordova Development

A-Frame is compatible with Cordova apps. Currently, network access is required as A-Frame and its dependencies load assets from CDN sources.

Cordova A-Frame Showcase App (demo)

Installation

Install the cordova-plugin-xhr-local-file plugin. This is needed because Cordova runs from file://, and XHR requests to local file:// assets (JSON fonts, 3D models, etc) will fail without this plugin.

cordova plugin add cordova-plugin-xhr-local-file

In your index.html, adjust as follows:

<head>
<meta
http-equiv="Content-Security-Policy"
content="
default-src
'self'
data:
gap:
https://ssl.gstatic.com
'unsafe-eval'
https://cdn.aframe.io <-- required
https://dpdb.webvr.rocks <-- required
https://fonts.googleapis.com <-- required
https://cdn.jsdelivr.net <-- your choice, see below
;
style-src
'self'
'unsafe-inline'
;
media-src *;
img-src
'self'
data: <-- required
content: <-- required
blob: <-- required
;
"
/>
...
<script src="https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/npm/[email protected]/dist/aframe-master.min.js"></script>
<script id='my-scene' type="text/html">
...your scene goes here...
</script>
<script>
document.addEventListener('deviceready', function() {
// After the 'deviceready' event, Cordova is ready for you to render your A-Frame scene.
document.getElementById('scene-root').innerHTML = document.getElementById('my-scene').innerHTML
})
</script>
</head>
<body>
<div id='scene-root'></div>
...
</body>

Discussion

deviceready

The most important difference between a browser environment and a Cordova environment is waiting for the deviceready event before rendering your scene.

The sample above shows a pure DOM+JS approach, but you can also use a framework like React:

document.addEventListener('deviceready', () => {
ReactDOM.render(<Root />, document.getElementById('root'))
})

Layout

Depending on your target device, you may find that A-Frame’s default CSS causes certain buttons and controls to appear out of position or too close to the edge of the phone screen. Supply your own CSS overrides to adjust positioning to fit the target device.