React VR

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React VR
Type JaveScript Framework
Industry VR
Developer Facebook
Supported Devices VR headsets, Mobiles, and PCs
Release Date April 2017

In April, this year, Facebook made an important announcement during the F8 Developer Conference. The social media giant launched React VR, that’s modeled on its existing React framework. React VR is a JavaScript framework that enables development of virtual reality experiences. The declarative model that is used in React can be adopted in the React VR framework to create content for 360-degree experiences.

React VR - Finding Its Footing in the Virtual Reality Space

Facebook isn’t troubling itself with the larger goals of creating complex virtual reality apps, games, and experiences. Its initial objective seems to be to allow developers mix 360-degree panoramas with images, texts, and interfaces that are in 2D. It’s also not surprising, that Facebook has decided to tap existing technologies such as WebVR and WebGL. Developers can access the virtual reality devices that are on the web using the WebVR API. Without using any plug-ins, developers can render 3D graphics in any compatible browser using the WebGL API (Web Graphics Library API).

Since React VR mimics React JaveScript Framework for the most part, developers who have previous experience of building React apps will have no trouble creating virtual reality experiences using Facebook’s React VR.

By now it must have become clear to everyone that React VR didn’t come out of the blue. It has seen a layered progress involving React, React Native, and React VR. What began as a framework to facilitate easy development for the web has evolved and is now trying to find its footings in the virtual reality space. Even with React VR, Facebook is making every effect to keep focus on simplicity – a trait that has worked so well for React and React Native.

Describing the Three React JavaScript Frameworks

React: The earliest of the three that offers development framework for the creation of browser-based web applications.

React Native: React Native evolved from the React framework. It enables the development of native apps for Android and iOS through native components.

React VR: The latest incarnation of the Facebook’s JavaScript Framework that gives developers the necessary tools and platform to create applications in virtual reality. With the help of the <iframe> tag, it’s possible to embed React VR into already existing VR apps.

React VR Is a True React Native Platform

There is a good reason why the React VR JavaScript Library is built on the React Native framework, instead of just borrowing some of its concepts.

Using JavaScript to build a framework for the virtual reality arena wasn’t easy. It came with its own set of challenges. For example, the wearer of the VR headset must be able to view the surrounding environment at 60 fps. In the case of Rift, this increases to 90 fps (frames per second). When Facebook was working on the JaveScript framework for virtual reality, they had to take care of the scene update problem. Within the span of a single frame the scene updates had to happen. Fortunately, the React Native architecture offered a ready solution to this problem.

The Salient Features of the React VR Framework

React VR is based on JaveScript, just like its two predecessors. In fact, React VR has been built on React and React Native.

People who are already familiar with the React Framework will have no trouble adding VR experiences into web applications that already exist.

React VR Framework supports Android Operating System and iOS.

The tool comes with a feature that allows the addition of 360-degree panoramas and 3D scenes in user interfaces (UI) while making the best use of APIs like WebVR and WebGL.

The virtual reality experiences such as apps, games, etc. that are created using React VR can be enjoyed using any VR headset. In fact, the reach of React VR extends beyond the VR headsets. The applications built using React VR can be accessed on PCs and mobiles, and navigated with the help of the cursor or accelerometers.

React VR is open source software that allows developers from all around the world to create new components that can be utilized to better the user experience. When stuck with a difficult problem, React VR developers can benefit from the tools, libraries, and solutions created by the larger React developer community.

React VR enables easy testing of virtual reality concepts, ideas, and prototypes.

Getting Started with React VR

React VR presents exciting possibilities for developers to build 360-degree and virtual reality content. With the knowledge of JavaScript and the React VR library, developers can build 3D models, design 3D scenes, and blend 360-degree panoramas with 2D User Interfaces, images, and texts. The tools, codebase, and the documentation that is needed to get started is available on GitHub.