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Fast and small Android WebGL bindings for V8.

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GLES.JS - Fast and small Android WebGL bindings for V8

Copyright (c) 2015 by Boris van Schooten ( / [email protected]). Released under revised BSD license. See LICENSE for details.

Gles.js provides Android WebGL bindings for the Javascript V8 engine (ARMv7 architecture). WebGL is directly translated to OpenGL ES, providing what is probably the fastest and smallest engine for running HTML5 games currently available on Android. APK footprint is about 1.5 Mb.

A minimalist HTML5 API emulation is provided. While only a single Canvas element is fully emulated, there is limited support for handling HTML and XML structures and a fake API for the most common things that HTML5 apps do.


  1. put your webpage and all resources, like scripts and images, in assets/. Gles.js expects index.html to be present, from which the rest is loaded. html5.js must be present in assets/, which is the bootloader for everything else.

  2. compile using the standard Android SDK method, 'ant release'. This will package everything into an APK, which is found in bin/.

Setting up (command line)

These instructions assume you are using the command line to build. For now you will need an old version of the Android SDK (before Ant support was removed). To set it up, install Apache Ant and the latest version of Android SDK with Ant support (which is R25-2.5).

Linux Windows Mac

Within the Android SDK package manager, install API level 17, which is the minimum that handles leanback/TV applications. If you don't use this, you can go down to API level 14, which is the minimum that guarantees ARMv7 architecture, but you'll need to change the API level in and Then, make sure that the following is in your PATH:


Also define the following variable:


Now, initialise the SDK skeleton by running:

android update project --name GlesJSDemo --target android-17 --path .

Once you've done this, you should be able to execute step (1) and (2) above.


The procecure above assumes you just use the compiled object file, If you want to tinker with the gles.js native code, you will need the Android NDK as well. Download/unzip the NDK (no install is required, version r16b was used to compile this package). Make sure your PATH points to the NDK root dir.

Directory structure

/            - Standard Android build files
res/         - Standard Android resources
assets/      - HTML5 bootloader (html5.js) and your webpage resources
src/         - Java classes
jni/         - Main source (main.cpp) and makefiles
jni/include/ - Static include files
jni/gluegen/ - Generated OpenGL ES bindings and definitions used by main.cpp
jni/lib/     - Precompiled V8 linkables
libs/        - Precompiled libs used by SDK, including libglesjs

Compile procedure

  1. Patch and build V8. This is quite a mess, and currently not included in this package, so you'll have to do with the precompiled V8 binaries in jni/lib/ for now.

  2. Generate the OpenGL ES bindings by running `php jni/gluegen/gluegen.php'. Yes, PHP is a very useful command-line string processing language, and is used here for the string processing involved in parsing the OpenGL header file and generating the bindings files.

  3. Run ndk-build to build libs/armeabi/

  4. Run ant release (this is normally the only step) to compile the Java classes and put everything in an APK.

Depending on how deep you want to dig with development, you can do just the later steps, using the precompiled and pregenerated stuff already included in the package.


  • HTML and XML structure manipulation

  • OUYA support (controller and payment)

  • Multitouch support

  • Audio element support. Web audio API NOT supported. For just playing samples, the Audio element is actually more convenient. Also, JS apps need to support Audio element anyway, in order to be compatible with IE.

  • HTML5 gamepad support. Currently implemented for OUYA only.

  • Features a simple JS payment API of my own devising, which should be conceptually compatible with multiple payment systems. Only OUYA implementation is currently provided. See src/net/tmtg/glesjs/ for more info.

  • runs most Pixi demos, some after minor hacking of the html file

  • runs jgame.js (for me, this is its main purpose)

Known issues

  • There is a bug which sometimes produces spurious mouse coordinates

  • Pixi XML fonts don't work yet

  • Some OpenGL ES functions are not yet implemented, in particular some of the delete and free functions, and a couple of complex functions for which no test code is available yet. Generally, OpenGL functions need to be tested with more test code.

  • There are some minor differences between WebGL and individual implementations of OpenGL ES. Some of these differences are just bugs. WebGL as featured in Chrome tries to emulate correct WebGL behaviour for known differences. In contrast, gles.js is designed to work without emulation layer. This means you will have to test your app on more devices to make sure it works everywhere.

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