OpenGL Shading language books. Any recommendations?


I have recently considered buying the book “OpenGl Shading Language” by Randi J. Rost. Before I make the purchase though, I’d like to ask if this book is any good. Should go with it, or should I wait for a programming guide, a la “The Red Book”, covering OpenGL 2.0 to come out? Any recommendations you can make on this subject will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  • Anders

You know that GL2 is not defined and it might be a very long time before a spec is out right? Secondly, the book will take more time, and thirdly, I don’t think they will duplicate the same subject.

Shading is really a topic on it’s own.

I have bought and read the “OpenGL Shading Language” and I think it will never be a bad buy. It seems to me it does a good job both as a reference and a guide.

That said, I still think there might be reasons not to buy the book. GLSL is in itself (IMHO) not a huge topic - you can quickly teach yourself GLSL by looking at stuff you can find on the net. If the only reason for buying the book is that you want to learn GLSL (perhaps already using Cg) then this might not be the book for you. The book contains much more than GLSL - it is also an introduction to shaders in general (history, procedural textures, bump mapping, etc.). If you already know shader programming then the book might not offer you much more than the reference sections.

Thank you for your insights. I think I’ll buy the book then since I only have a very brief understanding of shaders in general, and I think it would be good for me to get a book that also covers the basics of the subject.

One thing though V-man, didn’t the ARB just announce OpenGL 2.0 on August 11th? As I understand it, the specs for it are supposed to be available at August 31st. Or did I misunderstand that?

Yes, OGL 2.0 was announced at Siggraph. They ran into a couple of last minute hiccups, which delayed the real release for “3 weeks”. Thus, end of the month is likely a good time.

Yes, there is this

but I am not sure what it will mean. Will there be revisions to it? When will drivers arrive. When will a book be published?

You don’t need to wait for any of that to start learning GLSL, since it’s already here.

The last minute revisions eliminate all the “GLhandle” stuff from the API. It now works more like textures or low-level shaders (i.e., you use Gen, etc.). AFAIK, there have been no changes to the shading language itself. Applications written today to work with the ARB extension version of GLSL will continue to work with the GL 2.0 version.

The changes are pretty trivial and just make GLSL more consistent WRT the rest of the GL API.

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