* GlowScript uses the WebGL 3D graphics library that is included in current versions of major web browsers. You must have a modern graphics card with Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). Browser details follow.
Chrome: Runs GlowScript without modification.
Firefox: Recent versions have WebGL enabled. For older versions, to activate WebGL go to the fake URL about:config, search for webgl, and set webgl.force-enabled=true. To find out what version of Firefox is installed, use the fake URL about:.
Safari: To activate WebGL in Safari 5.1 (included with OSX Lion), go to the Advanced section of Safari preferences and check “Show Develop menu in menu bar”, then on the Develop menu check “Enable WebGL”. Prior to Safari 5.1, to get WebGL required downloading and installing WebKit from Apple (nightly.webkit.org).
Internet Explorer: Although the basic version of Internet Explorer does not include WebGL, there is a WebGL plug-in available at code.google.com/chrome/chromeframe which lets you run GlowScript.
Tablets and smart phones: Many tablets and smart phones do not yet support WebGL, though this is likely to change. On at least some Android devices (tested on the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone and an Asus tablet), the Firefox, Chrome Beta, and Opera browsers do run GlowScript programs, though transparency is buggy, and currently there is no way to zoom and rotate. Animations are slow on some versions of the browsers. There are reports that GlowScript also works on the Sony Experia smartphone.
* At glowscript.org, run the example programs.
* Log in (you’ll be asked for a Google login, such as a gmail account), and try writing some programs yourself.
* Click “Run this program” or press Ctrl-1 to execute your program in the same window, then click “Edit this program” to return to editing.
* Alternatively, while editing press Ctrl-2 to execute your program in a separate window, so that you can view the execution and the program code simultaneously. After making edits, press Ctrl-2 in the editor to run the new program.
* While running a program, click Screenshot to capture a thumbnail image for your program page.
* In the editor, click Share this program to learn how to let other people run your program.
You will see in the Help that some parts of the language are particularly likely to change, so be prepared for that. On the other hand, there is a version system in place that will allow old programs to continue running in the future. The first line of a program you write is automatically created to be “GlowScript X.Y” (where X.Y is the current version number). When a new version comes out, the software for running the older version is retained for use whenever a program with an old version number is encountered. For example, programs written for either GlowScript 0.3 or 0.4 or 0.5 can all run today (the version system was created after GlowScript 0.2).
There is now a user forum connected to glowscript.org, where you can describe your experiences or ask for assistance.
I am committed to maintaining and hopefully extending VPython, as it is obviously much more mature than GlowScript and benefits from the existence of lots of useful modules, especially for scientific programming.
While the graphics in GlowScript today are pretty basic, it is already clear that WebGL with its emphasis on the use of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) available on modern graphics cards, will make it possible for GlowScript to do very high-quality graphics. VPython was created at a time when that was not an option, but it is possible that the graphics developments for GlowScript will provide a foundation for improving the graphics in VPython.