How to Use Exokit Web

This page will cover how to create a standalone page with XR iframes (xr-iframe). You can view the full boilerplate code on GitHub.


xr-engine the new top-level element for Exokit Web. If you’re familiar with A-Frame, this is similar in concept to <a-scene>.

xr-engine represents an instance of the WebXR engine running in the browser. When you add it to your DOM, it acts as a <canvas> window through which you see the WebXR world in the page.

Create the tag

For compatibility reasons, there are several ways to make an xr-engine:

1. Declare it in your HTML directly:

  <!-- WebXR site goes here -->

2. Declare it in the HTML with a src: <xr-engine src="app.html"></xr-engine> 3. Declare it as a template:

<template is=xr-engine-template>
    WebXR site goes here.
    This is for cases where you have <script> tags in your HTML,
    which you want to load _inside_ the WebXR site as opposed to the top-level
    page that contains the <template> tag.

4. Programatically create an xr-engine element: document.createElement('xr-engine');
5. Construct an instance of XREngine:

  const xrEngine = new XREngine();
  xrEngine.innerHTML = '<xr-site></xr-site>';

Everything in xr-engine runs in an isolated <iframe> context, so the HTML code inside of <xr-engine> cannot see the top window.

For example, this does not work:

<script> = 'bar';
<template is=xr-engine-template>
    console.log('foo:', foo); // ReferenceError: foo is not defined

That also means if you want to inline <script> tags and other resources in your <xr-engine> declaration, you should to use the <template is=xr-engine-template> variant which uses the standard HTML Template Element. This tells the browser to not immediately run your code as it’s parsed, which is the default behavior.

When you enter WebXR (or WebVR) inside of xr-engine, it will attach to the virtual VR device of the engine.

You can use any WebXR/WebVR framework like A-Frame to perform this bootstapping, but Exokit Web 2.0 offers an even simpler way with <xr-site>.

This is the second new tag introduced in Exokit Web 2.0. <xr-site> represents the contents of your WebXR site, and its effect is to bind your virtual world to the hardware device.

<xr-site camera-position="0 1.6 3">
  <xr-iframe src="webxr-site.html"></xr-iframe>
const xrSite = document.querySelector('xr-site');
xrSite.cameraPosition = [1, 1, 1];
const session = await xrSite.requestSession(); // get the WebXR session that xr-site auto-created
xrSite.layers.push(canvas); // add a locally-rendered WebGL canvas (such as from THREE.js) as an additional layer

xr-site handles the work of setting up a WebXR session for your site. xr-site is optional; you can still make the WebXR session yourself, or have that handled by your WebXR framework such as THREE.js, A-Frame, or Babylon.js.

(Psst: if you write a component that does this, we would love it if you submitted it as a PR to our GitHub repo!)

xr-iframe represents a layer of reality rendered in the virtual world. This component was introduced in Exokit Web 1.0, and its role remains the same.

However, xr-frame has a new magical feature in Exokit Web 2.0: when you attach it to xr-site, it will automatically become a layer in the WebXR session. 😮

As always, xr-iframe can be offset and transformed in the world with HTML attributes, which you can change from Javascript:

<xr-iframe src="webxr-site.html" position="0 1.6 0" orientation="0 0 0 1" scale="3 3 3"></xr-iframe>
xrIframe.position = [-1, 3, -1];

New boilerplate

Putting it all together, here is the full code needed to set up your own WebXR site:


<!doctype html>
  <script type=module src=""></script>
      <xr-iframe src=""></xr-iframe>

Look ma, no code!


The service worker loaded by the browser points to use Exokit Web’s sw.js.