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3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 19 April 2013
While each chapter of the original redbook had two or three complete listings for example programs using only the GL.h and glut.h headers, this 8th edition contains only 2 complete programs as far as I can see viz. examples 1.1 and 4.1. And 'complete' isn't really the right word as both rely on included files that are not standard to the freeglut installation. The authors seem to be saying 'OpenGL is great - but it's a bit too complicated for you so we wrote some nice routines to make it easier'. These files can presumably be downloaded from the opengl-redbook website when the authors have actually completed it. I received the book on the 13th of April and the sample code is still unavailable almost a week later.
This review, then, is of a book without the accompanying source code. While it is common for computing books to have source code online, I have never encountered one in 20 years that relied on it so heavily and was so useless without it and I feel these factors disqualify it as a true 'reference' book.
While I do not underestimate the size of the task that Dave Shreiner et al. have undertaken in overhauling all the deprecated features in the last edition, I feel that the book has lost most of its appeal. In short, I was able to learn OpenGL from the original redbook but a novice would not have a clue where to begin with this last outing.
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on 18 November 2014
The book claims to be "the official guide to learning OpenGL", but it does an absolutely lousy job at helping you understand this complex API. It represents an enormous step back from the previous version 2 book, which I also have.

This book goes into great detail about pointless and redundant functions, like explaining how to allocate, de-allocate, bind, and query for the existence of every type of OpenGL resource (which typically gets a full page per resource, but is always the same except for the function name) - yet it fails to explain what it actually is you are allocating, or what you might use it for, or what a good strategy for its use is.

As an example: what is a VAO? Sure, having read the book, I know how to allocate one now - now tell me: why would I? What does it do, and how do I best use it?

Function arguments are also barely explained. A vital table, explaining what the arguments to glReadBuffer() actually do, and that was present in the predecessor book, is now missing. I understand a book must have a limited length, but a book that positions itself as "the official guide to learning" should surely prioritize the basics of the API over much more esoteric subjects like the procedural texturing chapter?

There's also the use of home-grown software to skip over certain important details - the book uses several pages to describe how to use a function that isn't even in OpenGL, but part of the authors' personal library. Meanwhile, any explanation of the OpenGL API being called inside that function is missing completely - and a listing for the function is also missing.

All in all, this is a pretty useless and confusing book. If you are buying this in the hopes of understanding OpenGL, you will have a long struggle ahead of you including many trips to the internet to try and figure out what all those weird functions really do.
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on 2 July 2014
First the good news. The book itself is ok. The first two chapters give a gentle introduction with a chatty, tutorial tone. After that however, things become intense. It's like everything is being thrown at you at once with simple and advanced topics mixed in and no clear direction to the narrative. After 200 pages the reader is still wondering, in some respects, how to do basic drawing. So I would say this is more of a reference book with a tutorial at the beginning.

Now for the reason not to buy this book and why the authors should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves: the source code for the book. In the old days you got a CD with books this size. Here there is no CD, but the book mentions a website. Here is the near complete text of that website: (which incidentally looks like it was made in 1995)

"Update: Thanks to all of you who have picked up a copy of the latest version of the OpenGL Progrmaming Guide. We know a number of you have been looking for the source code from the book. Here is a link to most of the code. It's not all of the code, since Dave's traveling and hasn't been able to verify all the code that's in our repository. Sorry for the delay, and as soon as he's not working his Mac laptop (bohyah!), he'll get rest of it up here."

The book was published March 2013. It is now July 2014 and still no complete source code! Where is Dave? Is he still travelling, lost in the Sahara desert? Is he still "working his Mac laptop"? (Whatever that means?) This is utterly unacceptable situation, clearly the authors have abandoned this website and have no intention of ever supplying working source code. Khronos is a prestigious organisation. The Red Book is one of the best known computing books in the world. OpenGL one of the finest libraries, and this is best they can do? For shame!

The microsite does have a link to a download. But the source code therein is, as they say, incomplete. The very first example in the book, the "Hello World" example is NOT in the code. Seriously! And that is one of the full complete code examples in the book. This is another criticism, too many code samples in the book are snippets. The reader might not know where to put them. As far as I can see the source code on the site bears no resemblance to what's in the book making it useless. And the reader can't even type in the code from the book because even example 1 (which is almost a complete program) includes some proprietary libraries the authors wrote which are not listed in the book.

Despite being near useless, the source code ZIP file weighs in at 150 Mb, pretty huge for a few C files. In fact most of the space is taken up with huge picture files including one DDS file at 33 Mb. Was this really necessary? And why DDS which is clearly associated with DirectX and likely never used by OpenGL programmers.
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on 28 April 2013
I bought this book and have read 100 pagers of this book. And I have understood that it is not a book for beginners. It is reference book and not a tutorial book. So It is for people with OpenGL experience. If you want to learn OpenGL search for other books. It is hard for me to rate this book, because I am beginner in OpenGL.
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on 28 August 2013
I just received my copy of this book today and I must say I'm impressed.

I have a fairly strong background in C/C++ but have not really done any computer graphics work and I am currently trying to learn Java, OpenGL and JOGL all at once for a large cross-platform project. I bought this book really expecting to have my work cut out for me in applying the techniques and code samples in Java; I couldn't have been more wrong. In the first day, I have pushed through three and a bit chapters of this book and have all the source code samples so far working in Java without GLUT (albeit with a bit of Googling for JOGL info). Side note: for those that don't want to use GLUT, it is easy enough to remove. The book only uses that for OS-specific stuff like windows and event handling to make the code samples smaller and more portable. All the OpenGL info is still there.

The topics are presented in a logical order and explained well, and from skimming through the rest of the book it looks like pretty much everything I need is in this one book. I already feel like I am on my way to becoming a decent graphics programmer, because the book is helping me to actually *understand* what I'm doing and what is going on behind the scenes rather than just throwing code at me.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an in-depth yet easy to read reference and tutorial on modern graphics programming. The only reason I'm giving four stars rather than five is that as of this writing the full source code is apparently still not available :(
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on 22 June 2014
This book has been touted by a lot of websites as the 'de facto' OpenGL book, it is OK, but, it has the tendency to introduce a section of code, without really explaining, resulting in me having to search the internet for help.

My second criticism is that it relies heavily on 3rd party library such as GLUT, which isn't always what you want.

Lastly, the kindle book has a few formatting issues. A few of the links sent me to blank pages or to an incorrect page.
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on 22 April 2015
Hit comedy fiction by Dave Shreiner et. al, 2013. A dyslexic, dyscalculiac narrator presents the thrilling story of a vertex and his 80000 friends through 'the shaders' as they battle to get to the display buffer. Hilarity ensues as vname[2344] and his trusty sidekick 0x03328423 find themselves in a bind. Will vname[2344] be able to transform his relationship with vname[44230] without getting discarded?

This book has a lot of dark humour, be warned. Much of the example code contains undefined behaviour and incorrect API calls, but if you can appreciate that kind of humour you'll find the read very rewarding.


I didn't like how in the ending we just got that cliffhanger of Dave driving away into the sunset with his macbook, I would really have liked to know what happened to the source code. Since this is the 8th book in the series we may get another sequel, but even if we don't, die-hard fans will probably provide predictions for the source in their own image, even if the source is 'non-canon'. For the fan's sake Dave put what he claimed was partial source on the book's website, but it contains win32 so is clearly a red herring, there probably is no source after all.

There were some cool easter eggs with the fake source code, for example the Makefile provided in the root directory is a fork bomb on UNIX systems.

My favourite joke is the running gag where instead of using #defines to make compile-time constants, they would use enums but then forget to give values to them.

The book says a list of errata is on the website, but there is no such list. I emailed Dave so he can correct that line in his errata.
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on 10 April 2014
I had started learning OpenGL as a part of my university degree and this book is helpful so far. However, some parts of the code given in this book are little bit confusing. Overall is really good.
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on 6 July 2013
Covers the latest OpenGL spec. The is very little author written framework or wrappers that plagued the last OpenGL SuperBible. Any such code is explained. I'll be using this book for undergraduate labs.
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on 2 August 2015
Loved to buy again. Thx
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