Wrapper around the official GLSL to SPIR-V compiler

7 releases

0.1.6 Jun 30, 2018
0.1.5 Jun 9, 2018
0.1.4 Feb 10, 2018
0.1.3 Jun 26, 2017
0.1.0 Apr 30, 2016

#23 in Graphics APIs

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See also

Vulkano is a Rust wrapper around the Vulkan graphics API. It follows the Rust philosophy, which is that as long as you don't use unsafe code you shouldn't be able to trigger any undefined behavior. In the case of Vulkan, this means that non-unsafe code should always conform to valid API usage.

What does vulkano do?

  • Provides a low-levelish API around Vulkan. It doesn't hide what it does, but provides some comfort types.
  • Plans to prevent all invalid API usages, even the most obscure ones. The purpose of vulkano is not to simply let you draw a teapot, but to cover all possible usages of Vulkan and detect all the possible problems in order to write robust programs. Invalid API usage is prevented thanks to both compile-time checks and runtime checks.
  • Can handle synchronization on the GPU side for you (unless you choose do that yourself), as this aspect of Vulkan is both annoying to handle and error-prone. Dependencies between submissions are automatically detected, and semaphores are managed automatically. The behavior of the library can be customized thanks to unsafe trait implementations.
  • Tries to be convenient to use. Nobody is going to use a library that requires you to browse the documentation for hours for every single operation.

Note that in general vulkano does not require you to install the official Vulkan SDK. This is not something specific to vulkano (you don't need the SDK to write programs that use Vulkan, even without vulkano), but many people are unaware of that and install the SDK thinking that it is required. However, macOS and iOS platforms do require a little more Vulkan setup since it is not natively supported. See below for more details.

Development status

Vulkano is still in heavy development and doesn't yet meet its goals of being very robust. However the general structure of the library is most likely definitive, and all future breaking changes will likely be straight-forward to fix in user code.


To get started you are encouraged to read the examples in the vulkano-examples repository, starting with the triangle example.

macOS and iOS Setup

Vulkan is not natively supported by macOS and iOS. However, there exists MoltenVK a Vulkan implementation on top of Apple's Metal API. This allows vulkano to build and run on macOS and iOS platforms.

The easiest way to get vulkano up and running on macOS is to install the Vulkan SDK for macOS. Vulkano will by default, as it does on other platforms, look for libvulkan.1.dylib (included as part of the SDK). Note that it is still possible to link with the MoltenVK framework (as vulkano did in previous versions) by adding the appropriate cargo output lines to your build script and implementing your own vulkano::instance::loader::Loader that calls the MoltenVK vkGetInstanceProcAddr implementation.

On iOS vulkano links directly to the MoltenVK framework. There is nothing else to do besides installing it. Note that the Vulkan SDK for macOS also comes with the iOS framework.


Become a patron


Contributions are welcome! Feel free to submit pull requests.

Pull requests that fix bugs or improve documentation are likely to be quickly reviewed, while pull requests that add features or change the API may be more controversial and take more time.

If your change adds, removes or modifies a trait or a function, please add an entry to the file as part of your pull request.


This repository contains six libraries:

  • vulkano is the main one.
  • vulkano-shaders can analyse SPIR-V shaders at compile-time.
  • vulkano-shader-derive provides a custom derive that invokes vulkano-shaders. It lets you easily integrate your GLSL shaders within the rest of your source code.
  • vulkano-win provides a safe link between vulkano and the winit library which can create a window to render to.
  • glsl-to-spirv can compile GLSL to SPIR-V by wrapping around glslang. glsl-to-spirv is an implementation detail that you don't need to use manually if you use vulkano.
  • vk-sys contains raw bindings for Vulkan. You can use it even if you don't care about vulkano.

Once procedural macros are stabilized in Rust, the vulkano-shaders and vulkano-shader-derive crates will be merged with the vulkano crate. The glsl-to-spirv crate is an implementation detail of vulkano and is not supposed to be used directly if you use vulkano. You are, however, free to use it if you want to write an alternative to vulkano.

In order to run tests, run cargo test --all at the root of the repository. Make sure your Vulkan driver is up to date before doing so.


Licensed under either of


Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in the work by you shall be dual licensed as above, without any additional terms or conditions.

MIT/Apache-2.0 license


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