Hackernoon logoThe World’s First 3D Environment in a Medium Post? by@rocco-balsamo

The World’s First 3D Environment in a Medium Post?

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@rocco-balsamoRocco Balsamo

Ok, so this one is pretty cool. Let’s start with the demo, then the explanation:

So how is it possible to have a 3D environment in a Medium blog post???

First, A little background

I’ve been working on a business idea for the last couple of months, and that is, to create a centralized home for the 3D (WebGL) content on the web. Naturally, I’ve done the research about various competitors and tangentially related websites.

The above embed is from a website called Sketchfab who’s mission is to:

Publish, share and discover 3D content online and in VR.

Ouch. Sounds a lot like what I want to do with my site, Simmer Industries. And they have 9.5 million more dollars than I have to do it.

But still, I am not deterred. I have a niche that is separate from what Sketchfab currently does. And I’m more interested in interactive experiences rather than models and animations.

this one’s pretty cool but doesn’t work as well on mobile

Back to the technical guts

So, how was the above 3D environment added to Medium? It was extremely simple actually. I just pasted in this URL from sketchfab’s site:

Medium uses embed.ly to automatically embed content into posts via oEmbed. What’s oEmbed?

oEmbed is a format for allowing an embedded representation of a URL on third party sites. The simple API allows a website to display embedded content (such as photos or videos) when a user posts a link to that resource, without having to parse the resource directly.

I’m still learning about exactly how oEmbed works, but you can check the official website if you want more info. (Update: I implemented OEmbed for my site, SIMMER.io, and you can read about it in plain terms here);

So once Sketchfab properly configured oEmbed on their website, presumably they applied to become an Embedly provider.

What else can you do with medium posts?

Great question! You can add email forms like this one.

no really, sign up for my awesome email list!

You can add Github Gists like this:

Codepens like this:


Or, like a bazillion other things:


Medium surely won’t let this continue… Will they?

One thing I really like about the Medium platform is that it’s really difficult for programmers like myself to create ugly blog posts. Surely Medium will put an end to all of these embedly embed providers, right?

Well, actually, it seems that Medium is all in. After a little more research, I found out that Medium acquired Embed.ly in 2016. Wild.

The clock is tickin’

Ok enough of this blog post writing for now, I need to get back to work on my new website for 3D content, Simmer Industries. There will be a soft launch on Monday, July 24, 2017 if I can get my shit together ;-). Sign up for the email list above to get notified of the double-secret location of the preview site.

Also if you’re in the Bay Area, come see me live at the ForwardJS conference. I’ll be speaking about WebGL the Easy Way with Unity on July 27.


Wasn’t it cool seeing a 3D environment on Medium? If so I’d really appreciate a 💚! It gives me a ton of motivation to keep writing articles like this.


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