Clearing by clicking

This example demonstrates how to combine user interaction with WebGL graphics operations by clearing the rendering context with a random color when the user clicks.

Clearing the rendering context with random colors

This example provides a simple illustration of how to combine WebGL and user interaction. Every time the user clicks the canvas or the button, the canvas is cleared with a new randomly chosen color.

Note how we embed the WebGL function calls inside the event handler function.

  A very simple WebGL program that still shows some color and user interaction.
  You can repeatedly click the empty canvas or the button below to change color.
<canvas id="canvas-view">
  Your browser does not seem to support HTML canvas.
<button id="color-switcher">Press here to switch color</button>
body {
  text-align: center;
canvas {
  display: block;
  width: 280px;
  height: 210px;
  margin: auto;
  padding: 0;
  border: none;
  background-color: black;
button {
  display: inline-block;
  font-size: inherit;
  margin: auto;
  padding: 0.6em;
  function setupWebGL(evt) {
    "use strict";

    // Cleaning after ourselves. The event handler removes
    // itself, because it only needs to run once.
    window.removeEventListener(evt.type, setupWebGL, false);

    // Adding the same click event handler to both canvas and
    // button.
    const canvas = document.querySelector("#canvas-view");
    const button = document.querySelector("#color-switcher");
    canvas.addEventListener("click", switchColor, false);
    button.addEventListener("click", switchColor, false);

    // A variable to hold the WebGLRenderingContext.
    let gl;

    // The click event handler.
    function switchColor() {
      // Referring to the externally defined gl variable.
      // If undefined, try to obtain the WebGLRenderingContext.
      // If failed, alert user of failure.
      // Otherwise, initialize the drawing buffer (the viewport).
      if (!gl) {
        gl =
          canvas.getContext("webgl") || canvas.getContext("experimental-webgl");
        if (!gl) {
            "Failed to get WebGL context.\n" +
              "Your browser or device may not support WebGL.",
        gl.viewport(0, 0, gl.drawingBufferWidth, gl.drawingBufferHeight);
      // Get a random color value using a helper function.
      const color = getRandomColor();
      // Set the clear color to the random color.
      gl.clearColor(color[0], color[1], color[2], 1.0);
      // Clear the context with the newly set color. This is
      // the function call that actually does the drawing.

    // Random color helper function.
    function getRandomColor() {
      return [Math.random(), Math.random(), Math.random()];

The source code of this example is also available on GitHub.