Note: This documentation is for the development version of X3DOM. Released versions: 1.5, 1.4, 1.3, 1.2.

Getting started

Using X3DOM

The recommended way of using X3DOM during the development of your application is linking the online version within your HTML document. You can use the following boiler-plate to kick-start development:

<!doctype html>
  <meta encoding="utf-8">
  <script src=""></script>
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="">
  <x3d> ...</x3d>

X3DOM should be usable in all modern browser and depends on no external libraries.

Please be aware that hot-linking the X3DOM library as outlined above will give you the cutting-edge build of the library with all pros and cons. The development build is automatically created every night. You will recieve the latestest fixes and features, but also a potentially unstable or temporarliy broken version. We try to maintain a unbroken dev build, but that can’t be guaranteed all the time. If you want to use a stable version, you should directly download it from the respective version’s directory (see below).

Once you finished developing your application, you should download the necessary snapshot build and deploy the files with your application on your server or a CDN. All you need in order to make it work are the following files:

x3dom.js The minified X3DOM library in a given version.
x3dom.css Stylesheets for X3DOM, you need to include this file in your webpage in order for X3DOM to display. However you can also take it as template to adapt your own stylesheet.
x3dom.swf The Flash 11 integration, for browsers not supporting native X3DOM or WebGL.

You can download the files from the X3DOM server and put them on your harddisk or your webserver. The released versions reside in subdirectories with version numbers, for example version 1.4 is available at 1.4/. For the current development build you can use the shortcut dev/ it will always point to the latest released version.

Releases, dev builds and library management

Since X3DOM is a research project our official release cycle is fairly long. In order to keep your application up-to date with any browser related incompatibilities, you need to manage a local copy of the X3DOM development build along with your application. In other words: the released versions are not maintained. Therefore the following release/library management on your side might be one sensible approach:

  • Use the dev build during development of your application
  • Use the released version if you deploy in a controlled environment (Browser and OS versions)
  • Freeze the dev build (or use a release in a controlled environment) and deploy that freezed version anlongside your application on your server or CDN
  • If browser issues occur, use the latest X3DOM dev build and test your application thoroughly.
  • Monitor your environment regulary and perform your own tests with all browser versions and OS combinations your application is targed for as soon as a X3DOM or browser changes occur

It should be stressed that X3DOM as well as browser development is a moving target. It is only sensible to adjust your development and library management processes to this environment.

Build your own

Note: If you wish to use a rather recent version of X3DOM and do not want to tinker with the build process, just use the development build. If you like to work on X3DOM itself, use the instructions set forth in this chapter.

All source code to X3DOM is kept under the Git revision control and you can browse the repository online. There is a download link available for any file or directory, if you only nee a portion of the X3DOM code.

If you have access to Git, you can get a copy of the repository here:

git clone

You can also check out a specific release from GitHub:

git clone
git checkout <version>
(e.g., "git checkout 1.3.0" for version 1.3.0)

If you want to build your own copy of X3DOM from the Git repository, you need to build it from the sources.

Build requirements

X3DOM currently requires the following components to be installed on your computer:

  • Python: The Python programming language is available for all major platforms. The recommended version is 2.7, but 2.6 works fine too.
  • Sphinx: A documentation tool, you will need this in order to build the documentation. Sphinx is a Python package and can be installed by running easy_install sphinx.
  • argparse: For Python 2.6 or earlier.

Once you have all prerequisites installed, you can build X3DOM:

python --build

The resulting build will be written to the dist/ directory.

Fore more detailed information on working with the source, please see the developer wiki.

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