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Thick Ada Binding for OpenGL

The package GL.Objects

This package is basically a wrapper for all OpenGL APIs that define and use objects.


In OpenGL, an object is a set of properties. The OpenGL API for accessing objects is purely based on the state machine paradigm: An object has to be bound (meaning it has to be made the active object) in order to interact with it. For each object class (e.g. textures), there can only one object be active. The properties of this object can be accessed and modified with functions that do not take a reference to the object, as they automatically interact with the active object.

OpenCLAda basically works the same way. Designing an alternative, simpler API has been considered and deemed not to be suitable for a wrapper library. However, the handling of objects and targets is designed in a more object-oriented way.

OpenGLAda’s approach to objects

In OpenGLAda, OpenGL objects are tagged types derived from the abstract GL_Object type defined in this package. They implement reference counting to automatically delete unused objects from OpenGL memory. This is achieved with controlled types. So, actually, all object types are just references and should be handled as such. This guide will subsequently refer to instances of these tagged types as object references, while OpenGL objects are the real allocated memory on the graphics card.

The targets where objects can be bound are also implemented as tagged types. However, you cannot create any target instances. Instead, the available target instances are provided as constants in the corresponding package.

All targets implement a procedure Bind, which binds the object referred by an object reference to the target, as raw OpenGL would do it. Additionally, Bind protects the OpenGL object from deletion - as long as an object is bound, it will not be deleted, even if there are no more references to the object in your code.


When you declare a new variable holding an OpenGL object reference, it will be uninitialized. Calling Bind with this reference will result in an exception. To initialize your reference, you have to call Initialize_Id on it. This will query an unused ID from OpenGL which will subsequently be used internally to refer to the OpenGL object. Some important notes on this:

To use the object, you have to bind it to a target and use the methods of this target to configure the currently bound object. The code might look like this:

<?prettify lang=ada?>

   use GL.Objects.Textures;
   My_Texture, My_Other_Texture : Texture;
   -- Create IDs for the textures

   -- Bind the texture to a target
   -- (Note that the texture's type is determined by the target it get
   -- bound to. You should not bind the texture to another target afterwards)
   Targets.Texture_2D.Bind (My_Texture);

   Targets.Texture_2D.Set_Minifying_Filter (Linear_Mipmap_Nearest);
   -- do something useful here
   -- ...

   Targets.Texture_2D.Bind (My_Other_Texture);

   -- if you did not copy the value of My_Texture, the OpenGL texture
   -- that is referenced by My_Texture gets destroyed at this point.
   -- The object referenced by My_Other_Texture lives on, as it is
   -- the currently bound texture to the target Texture_2D.

You can query a reference to the currently bound object by calling Current_[Descriptor] on a target, where [Descriptor] is the type of the actual object (e.g. Texture).

Low-level access

If for some reason you need to access the name of the object that is used in OpenGL, you can retrieve it with Raw_Id. The raw ID might be useful when you interact with other OpenGL-related libraries.