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1 About

This is a Haskell module for GLFW OpenGL framework. It provides an alternative to GLUT for OpenGL based Haskell programs.

2 Status

The library is being used by the Haskell School of Expression (SOE) code to render Graphics in a cross-platform manner. It currently interfaces with GLFW version 2.6, works on Windows, Linux (i386) and Mac OS X (both intel and ppc).

GLFW itself is well documented (see GLFW website), and the Haskell module API is documented via Haddock.

Not all functions are fully tested, and there are still a few GLFW C functions missing from the Haskell module, namely the image loading functions. They are excluded because image handling is a separate issue, and low level buffer manipulation would obscure their use further. Texture loading from TGA format is supported both from file and from memory (via a string buffer)..

The Haskell module also provides basic text rendering while GLFW doesn't. It comes from a free 8x16 font which is made into a TGA texture, stored as a Haskell string in the file GLFW.hs. Text rendering is only possible with Alpha enabled. Again, see SOE.hs from the SOE package for sample usage.

GLFW doesn't work well with GHC threads, forkIO or threadDelay. So avoid them if you can.

3 Download

Current version is GLFW-0.3. It's a repackage to work with Cabal 1.2 or later. It now compiles GLFW C source code as part of the building process, please report to the package maintainer if you have build problems.

4 Sample Program

To demonstrate the usage of GLFW for OpenGL based Haskell applications, here is a sample program that allows user to draw lines by holding the left mouse button and move the mouse.

import Graphics.Rendering.OpenGL as GL
import Graphics.UI.GLFW as GLFW
import Graphics.Rendering.OpenGL (($=))
import Control.Concurrent
Because the program needs to process user input, i.e., mouse button and movements, we'll use a continuation like structure for this purpose. The
type represents an IO operation that returns the next
to continue execution.
data Action = Action (IO Action)

The main program is mostly book-keeping such as initializing OpenGL and GLFW, create window, setup viewport, etc.

main = do
  -- open window
  GLFW.openWindow (GL.Size 400 400) [GLFW.DisplayAlphaBits 8] GLFW.Window
  GLFW.windowTitle $= "GLFW Demo"
  GL.shadeModel $= GL.Smooth
  -- enable antialiasing
  GL.lineSmooth $= GL.Enabled
  GL.blend $= GL.Enabled
  GL.blendFunc $= (GL.SrcAlpha, GL.OneMinusSrcAlpha)
  GL.lineWidth $= 1.5
  -- set the color to clear background
  GL.clearColor $= Color4 0 0 0 0
  -- set 2D orthogonal view inside windowSizeCallback because
  -- any change to the Window size should result in different
  -- OpenGL Viewport.
  GLFW.windowSizeCallback $= (\ size@(GL.Size w h) -> do
        GL.viewport $= (GL.Position 0 0, size)
        GL.matrixMode $= GL.Projection
        GL.ortho2D 0 (realToFrac w) (realToFrac h) 0)
  -- keep all line strokes as a list of points in a MVar
  lines <- newMVar []
  -- invoke the active drawing loop
  active lines 
  -- finish up
There are usually two ways to structure the main loop of GLFW programs. One is by actively polling events before processing them. The screen buffer is usually redrawn every time before
is called. This is the simplest main loop often seen in game applications, and may waste CPU cycles even when there is no visual update. Note that
by default calls
implicitly, so there is no need to do a separate poll.
-- we start with waitForPress action
active lines = loop waitForPress
    loop action = do
      -- draw the entire screen
      render lines
      -- swap buffer
      -- check whether ESC is pressed for termination
      p <- GLFW.getKey GLFW.ESC
      case p of
          GLFW.Press -> return ()
          _ -> do
            -- perform action
            Action action' <- action
            -- sleep for 1ms to yield CPU to other applications
            GLFW.sleep 0.001
            -- loop with next action
            loop action'
    waitForPress = do
      b <- GLFW.getMouseButton GLFW.ButtonLeft
      case b of
        GLFW.Release -> return (Action waitForPress)
        GLFW.Press   -> do
          -- when left mouse button is pressed, add the point
          -- to lines and switch to waitForRelease action.
          (GL.Position x y) <- GL.get GLFW.mousePos 
          modifyMVar_ lines (return . ((x,y):) . ((x,y):))
          return (Action waitForRelease)
    waitForRelease = do
        -- keep track of mouse movement while waiting for button 
        -- release
        (GL.Position x y) <- GL.get GLFW.mousePos
        -- update the line with new ending position
        modifyMVar_ lines (return . ((x,y):) . tail)
        b <- GLFW.getMouseButton GLFW.ButtonLeft
        case b of
          -- when button is released, switch back back to 
          -- waitForPress action
          GLFW.Release -> return (Action waitForPress)
          GLFW.Press   -> return (Action waitForRelease)
Another way to structure the main loop is to register event callbacks and use
. This way we don't have to put the program to sleep every 1ms because it'll not be using any CPU cycle when there is no event to handle. One reminder in this approach is that
must be handled with care, because it by default invokes
, which in turn invokes all callback functions. So if
is used inside a callback, it'll create infinite loop and hang the program. To avoid it, we should disable the
behavior using

Another optimization we can do is to use a dirty marker to remember whether the screen really needs to be redrawn. This'll not only save CPU cycles but also speed up event processing to avoid piling up events in the event queue. Similar tricks can be done to optimize the active polling approach.

passive lines = do
  -- disable auto polling in swapBuffers
  GLFW.disableSpecial GLFW.AutoPollEvent
  -- keep track of whether ESC has been pressed
  quit <- newMVar False
  -- keep track of whether screen needs to be redrawn
  dirty <- newMVar True
  -- mark screen dirty in refresh callback which is often called
  -- when screen or part of screen comes into visibility.
  GLFW.windowRefreshCallback $= (modifyMVar_ dirty (\_ -> return False))
  -- use key callback to track whether ESC is pressed
  GLFW.keyCallback $= (\k s -> 
      if fromEnum k == fromEnum GLFW.ESC && s == GLFW.Press 
        then modifyMVar_ quit (\_ -> return True)
        else return ())
  -- by default start with waitForPress
  waitForPress dirty
  loop dirty quit
    loop dirty quit = do
        -- redraw screen if dirty
        d <- readMVar dirty
        if d then (render lines >> GLFW.swapBuffers) else return ()
        modifyMVar_ dirty (\_ -> False)
        -- check if we need to quit the loop
        q <- readMVar quit
        if q then return () else loop dirty quit
    waitForPress dirty = do
        GLFW.mousePosCallback $= (\_ -> return ())
        GLFW.mouseButtonCallback $= (\b s -> 
            if b == GLFW.ButtonLeft && s == GLFW.Press 
              then do
                -- when left mouse button is pressed, add the point
                -- to lines and switch to waitForRelease action.
                (GL.Position x y) <- GL.get GLFW.mousePos
                modifyMVar_ lines (return . ((x,y):) . ((x,y):))
                waitForRelease dirty
              else return ())
    waitForRelease dirty = do 
        GLFW.mousePosCallback $= (\ (Position x y) -> do
            -- update the line with new ending position
            modifyMVar_ lines (return . ((x,y):) . tail)
            -- mark screen dirty
            modifyMVar_ dirty (\_ -> return True))
        GLFW.mouseButtonCallback $= (\b s ->
            -- when left mouse button is released, switch back to
            -- waitForPress action.
            if b == GLFW.ButtonLeft && s == GLFW.Release
              then waitForPress dirty
              else return ())
Just replace
in the
function to run the second approach.

The rest of the program goes below.

render lines = do
  l <- readMVar lines
  GL.clear [GL.ColorBuffer, GL.StencilBuffer]
  GL.color $ color3 1 0 0
  GL.renderPrimitive GL.Lines $ foldr (>>) (return ()) (map
      (\ (x, y) -> GL.vertex (vertex3 (fromIntegral x) (fromIntegral y) 0)) l)
vertex3 :: Float -> Float -> Float -> GL.Vertex3 Float
vertex3 = GL.Vertex3
color3 :: Float -> Float -> Float -> GL.Color3 Float
color3 = GL.Color3