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    0.2.4 • Public • Published

    GLVis JavaScript Library

    Using Emscripten GLVis can be built as a JavaScript & WebAssembly library.

    A fully-featured web version of GLVis is available at with documentation in live/

    Using a pre-built version of the glvis.js library

    A pre-built JavaScript library is included at src/glvis.js, but because of its size it is stored using Git's Large File Storage, git-lfs.

    To use the pre-built library, e.g. with the examples in the examples/ directory, or with the web version in the live/ directory, you need first to enable git-lfs on your system, see the instructions on the git-lfs page.

    For example, a simple run with the pre-built library can be executed on a Mac from scratch with:

    brew install git-lfs
    git lfs install
    git clone
    cd glvis-js/examples
    open basic.html

    Building glvis.js

    1. Install Emscripten

      [git clone]
      cd emsdk
      git pull
      ./emsdk install latest
      ./emsdk activate latest
      source "/path/to/emsdk/"
    2. Get copies of glvis and mfem

      git clone
      git clone
    3. Clone included submodules

      git clone --recurse-submodules

      If you've already cloned you can pull submodules with:

      git submodule update --init --recursive
    4. Get a copy of OpenSans.ttf and put it in the GLVis root directory. For example

      cd glvis-js
      curl -s -o ../glvis/OpenSans.ttf
    5. Build:

      make realclean # or just clean if you don't want to rebuild mfem
      make install -j
    6. Patch glvis.js (temporary):

      Edit src/glvis.js and add return 0; to the top of _JSEvents_requestFullscreen (see Known Issues)

    NOTE: Emscripten handles SDL2 and GLEW but if you have another installation in your path the link might fail.

    Serving to a device on your local network

    The serve make target allows you to serve your local glvis-js to other devices on your network.

    For example, on a Mac:

    1. First, get your IP address:

      ipconfig getifaddr en0

      or alternatively your hostname:

      hostname -s
    2. Then, serve glvis-js to all devices in your local network:

      make serve
    3. Any device in your network can now connect to {your IP address}:8000 or {hostname}:8000 to use the local version of glvis-js. On the local host, you can also use localhost:8000.


    Please run make style before pushing your changes. make style uses prettier and requires that you have npx in your path. prettier will be installed for you when running make style if you don't already have it.

    Updating glvis.js

    1. Use make install to build and install a new glvis.js and versions.js to src/

    2. Please add the output of make versions to the commit body.


    1. Update the version: npm version <update_type>

      • <update_type> is one of patch, minor, or major
    2. npm login

    3. npm publish

    More info here.

    Known issues and limitations

    • Opening new examples results in memory growth

    • Fullscreen events captured by the Emscripten Module are difficult to control

      • _JSEvents_requestFullscreen in glvis.js takes over the whole screen
        • For now we patch this to be a noop
        • Setting a noop with emscripten_set_fullscreenchange_callback doesn't seem to do it
      • _emscripten_set_canvas_element_size and __set_canvas_element_size print errors and duplicate some existing behavior
    • Lots of console warnings


    • Multiple output windows
      • MFEM stream with multiple fields causes the visualizations to write over each other
    • Improve the I/O e.g. corresponding to key F6
    • Improve experience on mobile devices with touch interfaces
    • Allow for screenshots/printing with S/Ctr-P, see
    • Provide easier ways to generate *.saved files
    • Support Binary streams
    • Browser differences
      • Fullscreen in Safari
      • Help menu overflow in Safari and Firefox
    • Secure websockets


    npm i glvis


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    • tomstitt
    • tzanio