WebTOP 6.0

This is the new, X3D version of WebTOP. It currently has thirteen modules and three more are under development. WebTOP 6.0 is a platform-independent, Java application that the user downloads (from here) and runs locally on his computer. The only requirement for running WebTOP 6.0 is that the user’s computer has a fairly recent version of Java installed on it: Windows (version 1.6 or better), Mac (version 1.5 or better), Linux (1.6 or better). Instructions for checking your version of Java can be downloaded from here. A current version of Java available for download is located here.

Getting Started

When you click on the WebTOP 6.0 “from here” download link above, you be given the choice to open or save the WebTOP 6.0 installer program (WebTop-installer.jar). After doing one of these two things, you should run the installer program, during which you will be given the option of having to place a shortcut on your desktop, which most people will do. When you click on the shortcut, the WebTOP Modules Menu pictured below should appear.


Figure 1 The WebTOP Modules Menu.

You may now start a module by clicking on the corresponding button on this interface. For example, if you click on the Michelson Interferometer button, you will get the WebTOP Window for this module, which is pictured below.


Figure 2 The WebTOP Window for the Michelson Interferometer module.

This window contains the interactive simulation. You may now change the parameters by interacting with the widgets in the scene, or by typing the desired parameter values into the number boxes in the gray console, which is located towards the bottom of the scene. You may also use the navigation icons, which are located just above the console, to rotate, zoom into, or pan the scene.

The Activities Menu and the Secondary Window

At the top of the WebTOP window pictured above is the Activities Menu, which provides links to the five activities associated with each module (Directions, Theory, Examples, Exercises, and Images) plus an About link. When you click on one of the five activities, the activity opens up in a separate window, which is referred to as the Secondary Window. (The main WebTOP Window with the simulation remains open.) For example, if you click on the Directions menu item, the secondary window will open with the Directions content in it (see below).


Figure 3 The Secondary Window for the Michelson Interferometer module, showing the directions on how to use the module.

The menu at the top of the secondary window allows you to choose any of the other activities. When you click on a new activity, the activity you are in is replaced by the new activity.


The Print button at the top of the Secondary Window allows any of the five activities to be printed. There is no print button for the main WebTOP window, i.e. the simulation itself. To capture an image of that window, the user should do Alt+Print Screen (on a Windows computer), or use an image capture program (e.g. Snapshot).

Open Source

WebTOP 6.0 is an open source project. Its source code is at SourceForge.net under the project name webtop-optics.