Updated: 2021-11-19

Modern graphics and compute APIs

  • Vulkan: Khronos Group, to unify OpenGL and OpenGL ES (Embedded Systems), and OpenCL will be merged into Vulken too. Written in C. Based on AMD's Mantle API. AMD donated Mantle API to Khronos. Development of Mantle API is discontinued. Can be used in Android.
  • Metal: Apple's API, replacing OpenCL and OpenGL. Written in C++14 and can be invoked in Swift and Object-C.
  • DirectX: Microsoft. Direct3D is a subset of DirectX.

Web Standards

  • WebGL: Javascript API; fully integrated with other web standards; render 2D/3D graphics in browsers. Designed and maintained by Khronos Group. E.g. DECK.GL ( is based on WebGL to visualize large-scale datasets.
  • WebGPU: a future standard; JavaScript API; not a direct port of any existing native API, but based on concepts in Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D 12.

Shading Languages

Shading language:

Such language forms usually consist of special data types, like "vector", "matrix", "color".