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OpenLayers 3 : Beginner's Guide by Erik Hazzard, Paul Spencer, Thomas Gratier

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What, technically, is OpenLayers?

We said OpenLayers is a client-side JavaScript library, but what does this mean? The following context answers this question.

Client side

When we say client-side, we are referring to the user's computer, specifically their web browser. The only thing you need to make OpenLayers work is the OpenLayers code itself and a web browser. You can either download it and use it on your computer locally, or download nothing and simply link to the JavaScript file served on the site that hosts the OpenLayers project (http://openlayers.org). OpenLayers works on nearly all modern web browsers and can be served by any web server or your own computer. Using a modern, standard based browser such as Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, ...

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