WebGL best practices

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  • 确保应用程序运行时不会产生任何WebGL错误(如getError()返回的). In Firefox, every WebGL error (until a certain limit), and some other WebGL issues, are reported as a JavaScript warning with a descriptive message. 在 Firefox 中,所有 WebGL 错误(直至超出数量限制)以及其它一些 WebGL 问题,都会以一段提供描述的 JavaScript 警告报告出来。你不想自己的应用在用户的控制台打印出一堆东西对吧?你当然不想了。
  • 你应该永远不去触碰 WebGL shader 里的 #ifdef GL_ES ;虽然前边的一些例子使用了这个,这并无必要,因为这个条件判断在 WebGL shader 中始终为 true。
  • 在 fragment shader 中使用 highp 精度将阻碍你的内容在某些旧的移动设备上正确运行。这里,你可以使用 mediump;但是,你需要知道,由于在大多移动设备上的精度丢失,这经常导致渲染失败,这在典型的 PC 机型上没有问题。通常来说,在vertex 和 fragment shader 中仅使用 highp ,除非 shaders 通过了各大平台的测试。从 Firefox 11 开始,WebGL 的 getShaderPrecisionFormat() 函数的实现,允许你判断 highp 是否得到支持,进而允许你可以查询到实际的精度。


  • Some WebGL capabilities depend on the client. Before relying on them, you should use the WebGL getParameter() function to determine what values are supported on the client. For example, the maximum size of a 2D texture is given by webgl.getParameter(webgl.MAX_TEXTURE_SIZE). Starting in Firefox 10, the webgl.min_capability_mode preference allows simulating minimal values for these capabilities, to test portability.
  • In particular, note that usage of textures in vertex shaders is only possible if webgl.getParameter(webgl.MAX_VERTEX_TEXTURE_IMAGE_UNITS) is greater than zero. Typically, this fails on current mobile hardware.
  • The availability of most WebGL extensions depends on the client. When using WebGL extensions, if possible, try to make them optional by gracefully adapting to the case there they are not supported. Starting in Firefox 10, the webgl.disable-extensions preference allows simulating the absence of all extensions, to test portability.
  • Rendering to a floating-point texture may not be supported, even if the OES_texture_float extension is supported. Typically, this fails on current mobile hardware. To check if this is supported, you have to call the WebGL checkFramebufferStatus() function.
  • Rendering to a canvas can be done at a different resolution than the style sheet will eventually force the canvas to appear at. If struggling with performance you should consider rendering to a low resolution WebGL context and using CSS to upscale its canvas to the size you intend.


  • Anything that requires syncing the CPU and GPU sides is potentially very slow, so if possible you should try to avoid doing that in your main rendering loops. This includes the following WebGL calls: getError(), readPixels(), and finish(). WebGL getter calls such as getParameter() and getUniformLocation() should be considered slow too, so try to cache their results in a JavaScript variable.
  • Fewer, larger draw operations will improve performance. If you have 1000 sprites to paint, try to do it as a single drawArrays() or drawElements() call. You can draw degenerate (flat) triangles if you need to draw discontinuous objects as a single drawArrays() call.
  • Fewer state changes will also improve performance. In particular, if you can pack multiple images into a single texture and select them by using the appropriate texture coordinates, that can help you do fewer texture binding changes, which improves performance.
    • In some rare cases, packing greyscale textures which belong together into the color channels of a single texture might help.
  • Smaller textures perform better than larger ones. For this reason, mipmapping can be a performance win.
  • Simpler shaders perform better than complex ones. In particular, if you can remove an if statement from a shader, that will make it run faster. Division and math functions like log() should be considered expensive too.
    • However, nowadays even mobile devices possess powerful GPUs that are capable of running even relatively complex shader programs. Moreover, because shaders are compiled, the eventual machine code that actually runs on the hardware may be highly optimized. What may seem like an expensive function call may in fact compile into only few (or even a single) machine instructions. This is particularly true for GLSL functions that typically operate on vectors, such as normalize(), dot() and mix(). The best advice in that regard is to use the built-in functions, rather than try to implement, for example, one's own version of a dot-product or linear interpolation, which may in fact compile to larger and less optimized machine code. Finally, it is important to keep in mind that GPUs are constructed to do complex mathematical calculations in hardware, and therefore, may support math functions, such as sin(), cos() and other, through dedicated machine instructions.
  • Do as much as you can in the vertex shader, rather than in the fragment shader. Because, per rendering pass, fragment shaders run many more times than vertex shaders, any calculation that can be done on the vertices and then just interpolated among fragments is a performance boon (this interpolation is done "automagically" for you, through the fixed functionality rasterization phase of the OpenGL pipeline). For example, a simple animation of a textured surface can be achieved through a time-dependent transformation of texture coordinates (simplest case is to add a uniform vector to the texture coordinates attribute vector). If visually acceptable, one can transform the texture coordinates in the vertex shader rather than in the fragment shader, to get better performance.
  • Always have vertex attrib 0 array enabled. If you draw with vertex attrib 0 array disabled, you will force the browser to do complicated emulation when running on desktop OpenGL (e.g. on Mac OSX). This is because in desktop OpenGL, nothing gets drawn if vertex attrib 0 is not array-enabled. You can use bindAttribLocation() to force a vertex attribute to use location 0, and use enableVertexAttribArray() to make it array-enabled.