WebGPU API Proposal

30 Jan 2017 - dino@apple.com


  1. Introduction
  2. To Do
  3. API
  4. Shading Language
  5. Examples
  6. Change Log

1. Introduction

This is Apple's draft proposal for the WebGPU API. It started as a mapping of Metal to JavaScript, but that won't be where it ends up. Not only are there some things in Metal that don't quite fit with Vulkan and D3D12, we also don't want to be tied to the Metal API. So please consider this a work in progress. There is a small source code example at the end (although it is a bit out of date).

The main differences from the traditional native GPU APIs are:

2. To Do

3. API

interface WebGPURenderingContext : CanvasRenderingContext {

    // -- Identification and feature detection
    readonly attribute DOMString name;
    boolean supportsFeatureSet(WebGPUFeatureSet featureSet);

    // -- Library creation

    WebGPULibrary createLibrary(DOMString sourceCode);

    // -- Command queue creation
    WebGPUCommandQueue createCommandQueue();
    // @@ Do we need createCommandQueueWithMaxCommandBufferCount?

    // -- Resources

    WebGPUBuffer createBuffer(ArrayBufferView data);
    WebGPUTexture createTexture(WebGPUTextureDescriptor descriptor);
    WebGPUSamplerState createSamplerState(WebGPUSamplerDescriptor descriptor);

    // -- Rendering objects
    WebGPUDepthStencilState createDepthStencilState(WebGPUDepthStencilDescriptor descriptor);
    WebGPURenderPipelineState createRenderPipelineState(WebGPURenderPipelineDescriptor
    // @@ Do we need the completion block versions?

    // -- Compute
    WebGPUComputePipelineState createComputePipelineState(WebGPUFunction function);
    WebGPUComputePipelineState createComputePipelineState(WebGPUComputePipelineDescriptor

    // -- Getting the rendering destination
    WebGPUDrawable nextDrawable();
    // @@ Come up with a better way to do this.


interface WebGPUCommandQueue {

    attribute DOMString label;

    WebGPUCommandBuffer createCommandBuffer();

interface WebGPUCommandBuffer {

    // -- Command Encoders
    WebGPURenderCommandEncoder createRenderCommandEncoder(WebGPURenderPassDescriptor
    WebGPUBlitCommandEncoder createBlitCommandEncoder();
    WebGPUComputeCommandEncoder createComputeCommandEncoder();

    // -- Status
    readonly attribute WebGPUStatus status;
    readonly attribute DOMString error; // @@ need enum

    // - Execution

    void commit();
    void presentDrawable(WebGPUDrawable drawable);
    readonly attribute Promise scheduled;
    readonly attribute Promise completed;
    // @@ Should the completed promise be the return value of commit()?

    // @@ Maybe add enqueue or invent some way to offload filling the buffer
    // to workers?

interface WebGPUDrawable {

    readonly attribute WebGPUTexture texture; // @@ Only the framebuffer should have this.

    void present();


interface WebGPUCommandEncoder {

    readonly attribute DOMString label;

    void endEncoding();
    // @@ Debugging helpers?

interface WebGPURenderCommandEncoder : WebGPUCommandEncoder {

    // -- State

    // @@ Should these be attributes?
    void setBlendColor(float red, float green, float blue, float alpha);
    void setCullMode(WebGPUCullMode mode);
    void setDepthBias(float bias, float scale, float clamp);
    void setDepthClipMode(WebGPUDepthClipMode mode);
    void setDepthStencilState(WebGPUDepthStencilState depthStencilState);
    void setFrontFacingWinding(WebGPUWinding mode);
    void setRenderPipelineState(WebGPURenderPipelineState pipelineState);
    // @@ Use Geometry interfaces?
    void setScissorRect(float x, float y, float width, float height);
    void setStencilReferenceValue(unsigned long value);
    // @@ Check if we can overload here
    void setStencilReferenceValue(unsigned long front, unsigned long back);
    void setTriangleFillMode(WebGPUTriangleFill mode);
    void setViewport(WebGPUViewportDictionary viewport);
    void setVisibilityResultMode(WebGPUVisibilityResultMode mode, unsigned long offset);

    // -- Resources
    void setVertexBuffer(WebGPUBuffer buffer, unsigned long offset, unsigned long index);
    void setVertexBuffers(WebGPUBuffer[] buffers, unsigned long[] offsets,
                          unsigned long startIndex, unsigned long count);
    // @@ need setVertexBytes?
    void setVertexSamplerState(WebGPUSamplerState samplerState, unsigned long index);
    void setVertexSamplerStates(WebGPUSamplerState[] samplerState, unsigned long startIndex,
                                unsigned long count);
    void setVertexTexture(WebGPUTexture texture, unsigned long index);
    void setVertexTextures(WebGPUTexture[] textures, unsigned long startIndex,
                           unsigned long count);

    void setFragmentBuffer(WebGPUBuffer buffer, unsigned long offset, unsigned long index);
    void setFragmentBuffers(WebGPUBuffer[] buffers, unsigned long[] offsets,
                            unsigned long startIndex, unsigned long count);
    // @@ need setFragmentBytes?
    void setFragmentSamplerState(WebGPUSamplerState samplerState, unsigned long index);
    void setFragmentSamplerStates(WebGPUSamplerState[] samplerState, unsigned long startIndex,
                                  unsigned long count);
    void setFragmentTexture(WebGPUTexture texture, unsigned long index);
    void setFragmentTextures(WebGPUTexture[] textures, unsigned long startIndex,
                             unsigned long count);

    // -- Drawing

    void drawPrimitives(unsigned long type, unsigned long start, unsigned long count);
    // @@ add drawInstanced and drawIndexed


interface WebGPUBlitCommandEncoder : WebGPUCommandEncoder {
    // -- Copying Data Between Two Buffers
    void copyFromBufferToBuffer(WebGPUBuffer source, unsigned long sourceOffset,
                                WebGPUBuffer destination,
                                unsigned long destinationOffset, unsigned long size);

    // -- Copying Data From a Buffer to a Texture
    void copyFromBufferToTexture(WebGPUBuffer buffer, unsigned long sourceOffset,
                                 unsigned long sourceBytesPerRow,
                                 unsigned long sourceBytesPerImage, WebGPUSize size,
                                 WebGPUTexture texture,
                                 unsigned long destinationSlice, unsigned long destinationLevel,
                                 WebGPUOrigin origin);

    // -- Copying Data Between Two Textures
    void copyFromTextureToTexture();

    // -- Copying Data from a Texture to a Buffer
    void copyFromTextureToBuffer();
    // - Image Operations
    void fillBuffer(WebGPUBuffer buffer, unsigned long start,
                    unsigned long count, unsigned long value);
    void generateMipmapsForTexture();

interface WebGPUComputeCommandEncoder : WebGPUCommandEncoder {

    // - Specifying the Compute Pipeline State
    void setComputePipelineState(WebGPUComputePipelineState state);
    // -- Buffers and Textures
    void setBuffer(WebGPUBuffer buffer, unsigned long offset, unsigned long index);
    void setBuffers(WebGPUBuffer[] buffers, unsigned long[] offsets,
                    unsigned long startIndex, unsigned long count);

    void setBuffer(ArrayBufferView bufferView, unsigned long index);

    void setTexture(WebGPUTexture texture, unsigned long index);
    void setTextures(WebGPUTexture[] textures, unsigned long startIndex, unsigned long count);

    void setSamplerState(WebGPUSamplerState samplerState, unsigned long index);
    void setSamplerStates(WebGPUSamplerState[] samplerStates, unsigned long startIndex,
                          unsigned long count);

    // @@ do we need setThreadgroupMemoryLength?
    // -- Executing
    void dispatch(WebGPUSize threadgroupsPerGrid, WebGPUSize threadsPerThreadgroup);
    // @@ dispatchThreadgroupsWithIndirectBuffer?

interface WebGPUViewport {
    attribute double originX;
    attribute double originY;
    attribute double width;
    attribute double height;
    attribute double znear;
    attribute double zfar;

[ Constructor ]
interface WebGPURenderPipelineDescriptor {

    attribute DOMString label;

    attribute WebGPUFunction vertexFunction;
    attribute WebGPUVertexDescriptor vertexDescriptor;
    attribute WebGPUFunction fragmentFunction;

    attribute unsigned long sampleCount;
    attribute boolean alphaToCoverageEnabled;
    attribute boolean alphaToOneEnabled;
    attribute boolean rasterizationEnabled;

    readonly attribute WebGPURenderPipelineColorAttachmentDescriptor[] colorAttachments;
    attribute WebGPUPixelFormat depthAttachmentPixelFormat;
    attribute WebGPUPixelFormat stencilAttachmentPixelFormat;

    void reset();


interface WebGPURenderPipelineState {
    attribute DOMString label;

[ Constructor ]
interface WebGPUComputePipelineDescriptor {

    attribute DOMString label;

    attribute WebGPUFunction computeFunction;
    attribute boolean threadGroupSizeIsMultipleOfThreadExecutionWidth;

    void reset();


interface WebGPUComputePipelineState {
    attribute unsigned long maxTotalThreadsPerThreadgroup;
    attribute unsigned long threadExecutionWidth;

[ Constructor ]
interface WebGPUDepthStencilDescriptor {

    attribute DOMString label;

    attribute WebGPUCompareFunction depthCompareFunction; 
    attribute boolean depthWriteEnabled;
    attribute WebGPUStencilDescriptor backFaceStencil;
    attribute WebGPUStencilDescriptor frontFaceStencil;

[ Constructor ]
interface WebGPUStencilDescriptor {

    // -- Specifying Stencil Functions and Operations
    attribute WebGPUStencilOperation stencilFailureOperation;
    attribute WebGPUStencilOperation depthFailureOperation;
    attribute WebGPUStencilOperation depthStencilPassOperation;
    attribute WebGPUCompareFunction stencilCompareFunction;

    // -- Specifying Stencil Bit Mask Properties
    attribute unsigned int readMask;
    attribute unsigned int writeMask;

interface WebGPUDepthStencilState {
    attribute DOMString label;

interface WebGPUSamplerDescriptor {
    attribute WebGPUSamplerAddressMode rAddressMode;
    attribute WebGPUSamplerAddressMode sAddressMode;
    attribute WebGPUSamplerAddressMode tAddressMode;
    attribute WebGPUSamplerMinMagFilter minFilter;
    attribute WebGPUSamplerMinMagFilter magFilter;
    attribute WebGPUSamplerMipFilter mipFilter;
    attribute float lodMinClamp;
    attribute float lodMaxClamp;
    attribute boolean lodAverage;
    attribute unsigned long maxAnisotropy;
    attribute boolean normalizedCoordinates;
    attribute WebGPUCompareFunction compareFunction;
    attribute DOMString label;

interface WebGPUSamplerState {
    attribute DOMString label;

interface WebGPURenderPassAttachmentDescriptor {
    // -- Texture
    attribute WebGPUTexture texture;
    attribute unsigned long level;
    attribute unsigned long slice;
    attribute unsigned long depthPlane;

    // -- Rendering Pass Actions
    attribute WebGPULoadAction loadAction;
    attribute WebGPUStoreAction storeAction;

    // -- Specifying the Texture to Resolve Multisample Data
    attribute WebGPUTexture resolveTexture;
    attribute unsigned long resolveLevel;
    attribute unsigned long resolveSlice;
    attribute unsigned long resolveDepthPlane;

interface WebGPURenderPassColorAttachmentDescriptor : WebGPURenderPassAttachmentDescriptor {

    attribute float[] clearColor; // @@ should color be a type?


interface WebGPURenderPassDepthAttachmentDescriptor : WebGPURenderPassAttachmentDescriptor {

    attribute double clearDepth;
    attribute WebGPUMultisampleDepthResolveFilter depthResolveFilter;


interface WebGPURenderPassStencilAttachmentDescriptor : WebGPURenderPassAttachmentDescriptor {

    attribute unsigned long clearStencil;


[ Constructor ]
interface WebGPURenderPassDescriptor {

    readonly attribute WebGPURenderPassColorAttachmentDescriptor[] colorAttachments;
    attribute WebGPURenderPassDepthAttachmentDescriptor depthAttachment;
    attribute WebGPURenderPassStencilAttachmentDescriptor stencilAttachment;

    attribute WebGPUBuffer visibilityResultBuffer;


interface WebGPURenderPipelineColorAttachmentDescriptor {

    // -- Pipeline state
    attribute WebGPUPixelFormat pixelFormat;
    attribute WebGPUColorWriteMask writeMask;

    // -- Blending
    attribute boolean blendingEnabled;
    attribute WebGPUBlendOperation rgbBlendOperation;
    attribute WebGPUBlendOperation alphaBlendOperation;

    // -- Blend Factors
    attribute WebGPUBlendFactor sourceRGBBlendFactor;
    attribute WebGPUBlendFactor destinationRGBBlendFactor;
    attribute WebGPUBlendFactor sourceAlphaBlendFactor;
    attribute WebGPUBlendFactor destinationAlphaBlendFactor;

interface WebGPUResource {
    readonly attribute WebGPUCPUCacheMode cpuCacheMode;
    readonly attribute WebGPUStorageMode storageMode;
    readonly attribute DOMString label;
    void setPurgeableState(DOMString state);

interface WebGPUOrigin {
    attribute unsigned long x;
    attribute unsigned long y;
    attribute unsigned long z;

interface WebGPUSize {
    attribute unsigned long width;
    attribute unsigned long height;
    attribute unsigned long depth;

interface WebGPURegion {
    attribute WebGPUOrigin origin;
    attribute WebGPUSize size;

interface WebGPUTexture : WebGPUResource {

    // @@ need API to provide data from <img>, <canvas>, <video> etc

    // -- Copying Data into a Texture Image
    void replaceRegion(WebGPURegion region, unsigned long mipmapLevel, unsigned long slice,
                       ArrayBufferView bytes, unsigned long bytesPerRow,
                       unsigned long bytesPerImage);
    void replaceRegion(WebGPURegion region, unsigned long mipmapLevel,
                       ArrayBufferView bytes, unsigned long bytesPerRow);

    // -- Copying Data from a Texture Image
    ArrayBufferView getBytes(unsigned long bytesPerRow, unsigned long bytesPerImage,
                             WebGPURegion region, unsigned long mipmapLevel, unsigned long slice);

    // -- Creating Textures by Reusing Image Data
    WebGPUTexture newTextureView(DOMString pixelFormat, DOMString textureType,
                                WebGPURange levelRange, WebGPURange sliceRange);

    // -- Querying Texture Attributes
    readonly attribute DOMString textureType;
    readonly attribute DOMString pixelFormat;
    readonly attribute unsigned long width;
    readonly attribute unsigned long height;
    readonly attribute unsigned long depth;
    readonly attribute unsigned long mipmapLevelCount;
    readonly attribute unsigned long arrayLength;
    readonly attribute unsigned long sampleCount;
    readonly attribute boolean framebufferOnly;
    readonly attribute WebGPUResource rootResource;
    readonly attribute WebGPUTextureUsage usage;

    // -- Querying Parent Texture Attributes
    readonly attribute WebGPUTexture parentTexture;
    readonly attribute unsigned long parentRelativeLevel;
    readonly attribute unsigned long parentRelativeSlice;

    // -- Querying Source Buffer Attributes
    readonly attribute WebGPUBuffer buffer;
    readonly attribute unsigned long bufferOffset;
    readonly attribute unsigned long bufferBytesPerRow;

[ Constructor ]
interface WebGPUTextureDescriptor {
    attribute DOMString textureType;
    attribute DOMString pixelFormat;
    attribute unsigned long width;
    attribute unsigned long height;
    attribute unsigned long depth;
    attribute unsigned long mipmapLevelCount;
    attribute unsigned long sampleCount;
    attribute unsigned long arrayCount;
    attribute WebGPUResourceOptions resourceOptions;
    attribute WebGPUCPUCacheMode cpuCacheMode;
    attribute WebGPUStorageMode storageMode;
    attribute WebGPUTextureUsage usage;

interface WebGPUBuffer : WebGPUResource {

    WebGPUTexture createTexture(WebGPUTextureDescriptor descriptor,
                               unsigned long offset, unsigned long bytesPerRow);

    readonly attribute unsigned long length;
    readonly attribute ArrayBufferView contents;


interface WebGPULibrary {

    readonly attribute DOMString sourceCode;
    attribute DOMString label;
    readonly attribute DOMString[] functionNames;

    WebGPUFunction functionWithName(DOMString name);


interface WebGPUFunction {

    readonly attribute DOMString name;
    readonly attribute WebGPUFunctionType functionType;

    readonly attribute WebGPUVertexAttributes[] vertexAttributes;

enum WebGPUCompareFunction {

enum WebGPUPixelFormat {

enum WebGPULoadAction {

enum WebGPUStoreAction {

enum WebGPUPrimitiveType {

enum WebGPUFunctionType {

enum WebGPUStencilOperation {

enum WebGPUStatus {

enum WebGPUSamplerAddressMode {

enum WebGPUSamplerMinMagFilter {

enum WebGPUSamplerMipFilter {

enum WebGPUCullMode {

enum WebGPUIndexType {

enum WebGPUVisibilityResultMode {

enum WebGPUWinding {

enum WebGPUDepthClipMode {

enum WebGPUTriangleFillMode {

enum WebGPUCPUCacheMode {

enum WebGPUStorageMode {

enum WebGPUResourceOptions {

enum WebGPUTextureUsage {

enum WebGPUBlendOperation {

enum WebGPUBlendFactor {

enum WebGPUColorWriteMask {
    // This is a mask, so the calling site
    // should take an array of them.

enum WebGPUMultisampleDepthResolveFilter {

enum WebGPUFeatureSet {
    // some names like...

4. Shading Language

WebGPU accepts a variant of the Metal Shading Language called the WebGPU Shading Language.

The high-level changes from the standard Metal to WebGPU language are:

Ultimately, WebGPU will accept a shader in some IR format, similar to DXIL or SPIR-V. It's not clear yet if there will be a human-readable shading format.


Example 1

Drawing a triangle

let canvas = document.querySelector("canvas");
canvas.width = 500;
canvas.height = 500;
let gpu = canvas.getContext("Webgpu");

let library = gpu.createLibrary(loadShaderFromScript("library"));
library.label = "Example label";

let vertexF = library.functionWithName("vertex_main");
let fragmentF = library.functionWithName("fragment_main");

let vertexData = new Float32Array([
    // x y z 1 r g b 1
    0, 0.75, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1,
    -0.75, -0.75, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1,
    0.75, -0.75, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1
let vertexBuffer = gpu.createBuffer(vertexData);

let pipelineDescriptor = new WebGPURenderPipelineDescriptor();
pipelineDescriptor.vertexFunction = vertexF;
pipelineDescriptor.fragmentFunction = fragmentF;
pipelineDescriptor.colorAttachments[0].pixelFormat = "BGRA8Unorm";

let pipelineState = gpu.createRenderPipelineState(pipelineDescriptor);

let drawable = gpu.nextDrawable();

let passDescriptor = new WebGPURenderPassDescriptor();
passDescriptor.colorAttachments[0].loadAction = "clear";
passDescriptor.colorAttachments[0].storeAction = "store";
passDescriptor.colorAttachments[0].clearColor = [0.8, 0.8, 0.8, 1.0];
passDescriptor.colorAttachments[0].texture = drawable.texture;

let commandQueue = gpu.createCommandQueue();

let commandBuffer = commandQueue.createCommandBuffer();

let commandEncoder = commandBuffer.createRenderCommandEncoder(passDescriptor);
commandEncoder.setVertexBuffer(vertexBuffer, 0, 0);

commandEncoder.drawPrimitives("triangle", 0, 3);

Example 2

Updating uniforms

// Setup
let uniformData = new Float32Array([ 0.5 ]);
let uniformBuffer = gpu.createBuffer(uniformData);

// Each frame
let uniformBufferView = new Float32Array(uniformBuffer.contents);
uniformBufferView[0] = frameId * 10; // Some per-frame value

let commandEncoder = commandBuffer.createRenderCommandEncoder(passDescriptor);
commandEncoder.setVertexBuffer(vertexBuffer, 0, 0);
commandEncoder.setVertexBuffer(uniformBuffer, 0, 1);

commandEncoder.drawPrimitives("triangle", 0, 3);