Xperimentality

Experiences and Experiments in Programming

 Saturday, July 24, 2010

I am really late getting this out, but since my youngest daughter tried to blind me recently, everything is behind!  If you have not heard, Walt Ritscher released Shazzam 1.3 on July 14th.  Yes, you are correct, this is great news.  Wait, some of you have not heard about Shazzam!  Well there is no time like the present to find out about it.

If you do anything with pixel shaders for WPF or Silverlight, you need Shazzam.  Shazzam is a tool that allows for the simple editing and testing of pixel shaders for WPF and/or Silverlight.  You can write your shader code in the built-in HLSL editor, then compile it and test it against sample images or video with a single click.  If your shader takes input parameters, Shazzam will build a set of controls to allow you to tweak your parameters in real time.  Once you are happy with your shader, you just copy the code generated by the tool into your project and start using it.

I have been using Shazzam since it was first released and this upgrade adds some really nice features.  For one thing, with previous versions of Shazzam, you had to provide your own copy of the tool used to compile the HLSL.  This tool is found in the DirectX SDK which is a nice size download just for one executable.  In version 1.3, this dependency has been removed!  For WPF Shaders, the new PS_3 specification is supported.  And you can tell Shazzam which specification/platform you are targeting.  There are now over 80 sample shaders included with the tool.  And 20 tutorials have been added demonstrating the who, what, when, and where of some of the most common HLSL.  From what I understand from Walt, there were a number of folks who wanted to download and install Shazzam, but their network or company policies prevented them from installing Click-Once applications.  So version 1.3 is now available as a standard installer package.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for some of the new features of Shazzam 1.3.  I would encourage you to download and install it.  If you are writing your own pixel shaders, it is a great tool to have in your hip pocket.  If you have not written any pixel shaders and have been a little intimidated by HLSL, then Shazzam is the tool to get you in the ball game!

Friday, July 23, 2010 11:07:15 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
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Who Am I - Todd Miranda
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