The Story of the Teapot in DHTML

Brian Beckman, Erik Meijer
It’s easy to do amazing things, such as rendering the classic teapot in HTML and CSS.

Before there was SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), WebGL (Web Graphics Library), Canvas, or much of anything for graphics in the browser, it was possible to do quite a lot more than was initially obvious. To demonstrate, we created a JavaScript program that renders polygonal 3D graphics using nothing more than HTML and CSS. Our proof-of-concept is fast enough to support physics-based small-game content, but we started with the iconic 3D “Utah teapot” because it tells the whole story in one picture. It’s feasible to render this classic object using just regular DIV elements, CSS styles, and a little bit of JavaScript code. This tiny graphics pipeline serves as a timeless demonstration of doing a lot with very little.

The Story of the Teapot in DHTML


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