Ephemeral 2·2·0

Posted 23rd November 2018

This version of Ephemeral might look virtually unchanged on the outside, but on the inside I’ve converted it to render using Metal instead of OpenGL/OpenCL (on compatible Macs). This is in preparation for the future: a while back Apple announced that OpenGL and OpenCL were both deprecated in favour of Metal, meaning that they’ll be removed in a future version of macOS.

Another benefit of Metal is that it is much easier to use (to write and maintain code). In contrast, I’ve always found OpenCL to be quite difficult and fragile. And given that Metal is Apple’s favourite (OpenGL has languished unchanged by Apple for years), Metal should give the best possible performance.

The full set of changes in this release are:

  • Rendering will use Metal on macOS 10·13 High Sierra or later, falling back to OpenGL/OpenCL.
  • The dot size is scaled to suit the screen (Metal only). This means, for example, that the mini-preview in System Preferences will draw with smaller dots on Retina displays. And when running as a screen saver on on a large high-resolution screen it will draw with larger dots.
  • Drawing is smoother due to the animation being locked to the refresh rate of each screen.

Download Ephemeral here.