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ApiTrace 1.0 Released: A Great Way To Debug Graphics

Free Software

Published on 27 April 2011 03:35 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software
3 Comments

José Fonseca and Zack Rusin have spent the last several months writing ApiTrace, which formerly was known as GLretrace. This is meant to be a powerful utility to debug OpenGL and Direct3D graphics applications and drivers. It allows you to easily capture the graphics API calls, analyze them in a step-by-step manner, and to playback traces at a later point. ApiTrace also allows for real-time editing of shaders and other OpenGL/Direct3D calls to see their impact on the rendering and drivers.

From the ApiTrace 1.0 release announcement, "FYI, over these past months I've been continuing to improve glretrace on my spare time, and lifted several of the previous limitations: added support for DrawArrays/Elements with user pointers; Map/UnmapBuffer; more extensions; several bug fixes. To the point that a great deal of GL apps trace & retrace flawlessly (tested e.g., Quake3, Unigine Heaven, Cinebench R11, Autodesk Maya)."

What makes ApiTrace even more powerful is that Zack Rusin wrote a QT user-interface to ApiTrace that allows exploiting all of these features from a very-easy-to-use interface. "Warning: this GUI is not the cherry on top of the cake, it's the whole sugar coating and it will make you salivate like a rabid dog! It allows to view the traced calls, view the state (parameters, shaders, textures, etc) at any call, and edit the calls, and more. Pretty amazing stuff, useful both for GL users and implementers."

Zack Rusin wrote this blog post where he talks about ApiTrace and his Qt GUI in length. There's also many screenshots of this program. If you're involved at all with graphics drivers or OpenGL/Direct3D programs, it's definitely worth trying out ApiTrace.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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