VRML files are commonly called worlds and have the .wrl extension (for example island.wrl). Although VRML worlds use a text format they may often be compressed using gzip so that they transfer over the internet more quickly. Most 3D modeling programs can save objects and scenes in VRML format.
The Web3D Consortium has been formed to further the collective development of the format.
The first version of VRML was specified in November 1994. This version was specified from, and very closely resembled, the Application Programming Interface and file format of the Open Inventor software component, originally developed by SGI. The current and functionally complete version is VRML 97 (ISO/IEC DIS 14772-1). The coming VRML standard is called X3D.