Here we describe some tools that can assist the development of Vulkan applications.

Feel free to check out the official Vulkan website for a more complete list of resources.

External tools

NVIDIA Nsight Systems

NVIDIA Nsight Systems is a tool developed by NVIDIA to profile applications, showing both CPU and GPU usage. It can be very useful for analyzing the balance between CPU and GPU usage, as well as troubleshoot general performance bottlenecks. However, it only outputs high-level information regarding GPU tasks. Therefore, to catch GPU bottlenecks on a low-level (such as inside shaders) one should instead use a dedicated profiler such as Nsight Graphics or Renderdoc.

NVIDIA Nsight Graphics

Nsight Graphics dives deeper into the execution details of an application and provides detailed information regarding graphics pipelines, shaders and so on. This is a tool of choice to consider for NVIDIA GPUs once the GPU is identified as a bottleneck with Nsight Systems.


Renderdoc plays a similar role to Nsight Graphics for a wider range of GPUs. It is open-source and community-maintained.

CPU implementation of Vulkan

SwiftShader is a CPU implementation of Vulkan primarily designed to extend the portability of Vulkan applications. It can be used wherever there is a lack of proper driver support, including public continuous integration services. This allows for example to evaluate code when generating a documentation in CI with Documenter.jl, like this one.

SwiftShader is available as a JLL package. You can add it with

julia> ]add SwiftShader_jll

A convenience macro is implemented in Vulkan, so you can quickly use SwiftShader with

using SwiftShader_jll
using Vulkan

which will tell the Vulkan Loader to use the SwiftShader Installable Client Driver.