Elegant bindings to glslang and SPIRV-Cross


This package provides thoughtful bindings to glslang, SPIRV-Cross and SPIRV-Tools.

SwiftSPIRV-Cross' raison d'ĂȘtre is to convert Vulkan shaders into Metal shaders.

Three packages provide the Swift APIs for achieving this:

  • GLSlang: The Swift bindings to glslang to parse .glsl files and generate SPIR-V.

  • SPIRVTools: The Swift bindings to SPIRV-Tools, with support to use advanced optimization passes.

  • SPIRVCross: The Swift bindings to SPIRV-Cross to generate Metal shader files.

How does it work?

Parse the glsl source

The first sequence of steps use the GLSlang package to read, parse and compile a Vulkan shader and produce SPIRV output.

  1. Create a GLShader using Vulkan source
  2. Parse the shader to validate it
  3. Create a GLProgram and add the shader
  4. Link the program
  5. Generate SPIR-V from the program

This can be expensive, so if the files don't change, it is worth caching the SPIR-V binary data.

Optimize SPIR-V (optional)

The next step is optional and utilizes the SPIRVTools package to optimize the SPIR-V.

  1. Create an instance of SPVTOptimizer
  2. Register any of the optimization passes, all of which are documented from their original C++ souce.
  3. Call the optimize method to execute the registered optimization passes.

Reflect and generate Metal Shader Language

These next steps use the SPIRVCross package to take a compiled program in SPIRV and produce valid Metal Shader Language source:

  1. Create an SPVContext to manage the SPIRVCross environment
  2. Parse the SPIRV
  3. Create a Metal compiler from the parsed SPIRV
  4. Use the reflection APIs to determine required buffers, bindings, etc
  5. Generate Metal source

The following example demonstrates converting a Vulkan vertext shader into Metal Shader language

let vert = #"""
#version 450

layout(std140, set = 0, binding = 0) uniform UBO
    mat4 MVP;
} global;

#pragma stage vertex
layout(location = 0) in vec4 Position;
layout(location = 1) in vec2 TexCoord;
layout(location = 0) out vec2 vTexCoord;

void main()
    gl_Position = global.MVP * Position;
    vTexCoord = TexCoord;

// load the shader
let shader = GLShader(source: vert, stage: .vertex)

// parse the shader according to rules 
try shader.parse(messages: [.vulkanRules, .spvRules])

let prog = GLProgram()
prog.add(shader: shader)
try prog.link()

let spirv = try prog.generate(stage: .vertex)

let ctx = SPVContext()
let ir  = try ctx.parse(data: spirv)

let mtl: SPVMetalCompiler = try ctx.makeCompiler(ir: ir)
let res = mtl.makeResources()

guard let r = res.uniformBuffers.first else { return }
guard let v = mtl.getVariable(resource: r) else { return }
guard let t = mtl.getType(id: r.baseTypeID) else { return }

Finally, call try mtl.compile() to produce the Metal Shader source:

#include <metal_stdlib>
#include <simd/simd.h>

using namespace metal;

struct UBO
    float4x4 MVP;

struct main0_out
    float2 vTexCoord [[user(locn0)]];
    float4 gl_Position [[position]];

struct main0_in
    float4 Position [[attribute(0)]];
    float2 TexCoord [[attribute(1)]];

vertex main0_out main0(main0_in in [[stage_in]], constant UBO& global [[buffer(0)]])
    main0_out out = {};
    out.gl_Position = global.MVP * in.Position;
    out.vTexCoord = in.TexCoord;
    return out;

Updating Dependencies

Most of the dependencies require a merge from their respective upstream repositories. Any additional steps are detailed in the following sections.


SPIRV-Tools requires additional steps to build the generated files.

  1. Generate the SPIRV-Tools CMake build files:

    $ cmake -B build -S . -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo
  2. Build the generated files

    $ make extinst_tables core_tables enum_string_mapping spirv-tools-build-version
  3. Copy the *.h, *.inc files to Sources/CSPIRVTools/ext


  • Swift Tools 5.2.0


  • None
Last updated: Thu Oct 15 2020 04:09:06 GMT-0500 (GMT-05:00)