The WebGLShader is part of the WebGL API and can either be a vertex or a fragment shader. A WebGLProgram requires both types of shaders.


To create a WebGLShader use WebGLRenderingContext.createShader, then hook up the GLSL source code using WebGLRenderingContext.shaderSource(), and finally invoke WebGLRenderingContext.compileShader() to finish and compile the shader. At this point the WebGLShader is still not in a usable form and must still be attached to a WebGLProgram.

function createShader (gl, sourceCode, type) {
  // Compiles either a shader of type gl.VERTEX_SHADER or gl.FRAGMENT_SHADER
  var shader = gl.createShader( type );
  gl.shaderSource( shader, sourceCode );
  gl.compileShader( shader );

  if ( !gl.getShaderParameter(shader, gl.COMPILE_STATUS) ) {
    var info = gl.getShaderInfoLog( shader );
    throw "Could not compile WebGL program. \n\n" + info;

See WebGLProgram for information on attaching the shaders.


Creating a vertex shader

Note that there are many other strategies for writing and accessing shader source code strings. These example are for illustration purposes only.

var vertexShaderSource =
  "attribute vec4 position;\n"+
  "void main() {\n"+
  "  gl_Position = position;\n"+

//Use the createShader function from the example above
var vertexShader = createShader(gl, vertexShaderSource, gl.VERTEX_SHADER)

Creating a fragment shader

var fragmentShaderSource =
  "void main() {\n"+
  "  gl_FragColor = vec4(1.0, 1.0, 1.0, 1.0);\n"+

//Use the createShader function from the example above
var fragmentShader = createShader(gl, fragmentShaderSource, gl.FRAGMENT_SHADER)


Specification Status Comment
WebGL 1.0
The definition of 'WebGLShader' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 9 4.0 (2.0) 11 12 5.1
Available in workers No support 44 (44) [1] No support No support No support
Feature Android Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support ? 25 (Yes) ? 12 8.1
Available in workers No support No support 44.0 (44) [1] No support No support No support

[1] This feature is behind a feature preference setting. In about:config, set gfx.offscreencanvas.enabled to true.

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

 Contributors to this page: zalomea, fscholz, gregtatum
 Last updated by: zalomea,