NimGL 1.0

NimGL has been in development since March of 2018, it started as a side project to create and test a graphics library for Nim. A huge inspiration for the project as to which modules to create was LWJGL, since then I have added some modules and more bindings depending on the need of the projects being developed and user feedback.
At the same time, I have been studying Computer Science in Game Programming since 2017. Just recently I needed to propose an idea for a thesis project. A lot of other interesting projects came to mind, but NimGL still has room to grow and can be an interesting proposition.

So NimGL 1.0 came to be, a semi-restart on the way the project was thought about. A GitHub group was created and a new domain was bought https://nimgl.dev/. A change that was requested was that all the bindings should be available as submodules. So it will be implemented in their own repo under the GitHub's group.
New generators will be written for most of the existing bindings, together with better documentation related to Nim and helper modules to properly adapt this bindings to the core Nim experience.

ImGui (with helper example)

ImGui requires to push and pop certain states to be able to push to them, such as windows, styles, fonts, and others. Using core Nim features such as templates and macros certain functionality like RAII (stated in this ImGui's issue) and less explicit (when needed) function declarations can be made.

Current:

discard igBegin("MyWindow")
discard igDragFloat3("pos", pos.x.addr)
igText("fps: %f", io.framerate)
discard igCheckbox("wireframe", wireframe.addr)
igEnd()

Helper

igBegin("MyWindow"):
  igDragFloat3("pos", pos.x.addr)
  igText("fps: %f", io.framerate)
  igCheckbox("wireframe", wireframe.addr)

It may seem like a little change (and I provided a small example), but after hundreds of calls to the ImGui library this really starts to add.

OpenGL

The current generator works fine, the issues come down to editing the generator. This generator was made in under 2hrs, mostly because I needed some modern OpenGL bindings for a school project. As a result, it lacks all the good standards of code that you might think of. It will be rewritten and will have as a new feature Extensions loadout. In the big scheme of things, I would love to create a generator like dav1d's, but this will end up being more like glew. It is not a bad thing on its own, but Extensions have to be loaded manually at runtime and before loading the general library, which can be a turn off for some people since this comes with bigger loading statements and OpenGL loader file.

GLFW

I have been postponing the upgrade to version 3.3, mostly because it breaks certain compatibility, and because GLFW was the first binding to be created so it lacks a generator of any kind.
It was my intention to integrate c2nim into this workflow, but it has failed in several critical areas of generation. Creating a general-purpose translation tool is a task of itself, but creating a single purpose unit that only works with a certain header, and it works really well and to the lib's needs, can be done. This will be applied to GLFW together with STB and will have their own generators tailored to them.

STB

Not really a lot to say, it lacks a lot of features that need to be implemented. They will be implemented together with a generator of its own.

Vulkan

Everything above sounds really nice, at least in my own perspective, both as the developer and as an end user that would really appreciate these features. But it doesn't add up to a thesis project if you also count in that most of the project is already done and the new features are mostly what some people might call, syntatic sugar or in general, optimizations and improvements.

Vulkan is a rather new technology when you compare it with existing Graphics APIs, that comes with a lack of educational resources and a lack of frameworks, libraries and all that is needed to properly work with it. As such a new Vulkan module will be added to the NimGL's collection (Vulkan Joins the Battle!). This is still in the research stages and I still have to look at other loaders and how they are implemented to avoid the same mistakes and to better port it to Nim.

Other

LWJGL binds a lot of other nice APIs'/libraries such as OpenAL, shaderc, OpenVR and even Opus. I would love to add these modules to NimGL but they require extensive knowledge of their usage and research on existing ports and even usage of those ports to identify issues and how they would properly be ported to Nim. Because of these reasons, they will be kept as an ideal state, but they will be postponed until all the previously mentioned changes have been applied.

These changes and upgrades compose what will be called NimGL 1.0, the current version will be kept bug free, and all the issues that are created will still be addressed. I highly recommend that you properly tag NimGL's version or one of its submodules in your Nimble file. All new development regarding version 1.0 will be kept on its own branch based on NimGL 0.3.6. Please notice that a lot of syntax and integrations will break since I won't take into account compatibility with existing versions. To keep my bow of taking care of this repo, after version 1.0 has been released a new branch called version 0 will be created as a LTS version. Where all issues related to this version will be fixed and new (though small) improvements will be implemented.

Please let me know your thoughts on these changes on Twitter where you can find me as @thelmariscal where I am open to new and different ideas.


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