Understanding Chromium’s runtime ozone platform selection


For the context of this post, it is assumed a ‘content_shell’ ChromeOS GN build produced with the following commands:

$ gn gen --args='target_os="chromeos"
                 ozone_auto_platforms=false' out-gn-ozone

$ ninja -C out-gn-ozone blink_tests

Ozone at runtime

Looking at the build arguments above, one can foresee that the content_shell app will be able to run on the following Graphics backends: Wayland (no EGL), X11, and “headless” – and it indeed is. This happens thanks to Chromium’s Graphics layer abstraction, Ozone.

So, in order to run content_shell app on Ozone platform “bleh”, one simply does:

$ out-gn-ozone/content_shell --ozone-platform="bleh"

Simple no? Well, yes .. and not as much.

The way the desired Ozone platform classes/objects are instantiated is interesting, involving c++ templates, GYP/GN hooks, python generated code, and more. This post aims to detail the process some more.

Ozone platform selection logic

Two methods kick off OzonePlatform instantiation: ::InitializeForUI and ::InitializeForGPU . They both call ::CreateInstance(), which is our starting point.

This is how simple it looks:

63 void OzonePlatform::CreateInstance() {
64     if (!instance_) {
69         std::unique_ptr<OzonePlatform> platform =
70             PlatformObject<OzonePlatform>::Create();
72         // TODO(spang): Currently need to leak this object.
73         OzonePlatform* pl = platform.release();
74         DCHECK_EQ(instance_, pl);
75     }
76 }

Essentially, when PlatformObject<T>::Create is ran (lines 69 and 70), it ends up calling a method named Create{T}Bleh, where

  • “T” is the template argument name, e.g. “OzonePlatform”.
  • “bleh” is the value passed to –ozone-platform command line parameter.

For instance, in the case of ./content_shell –ozone-platform=x11, the method called would CreateOzonePlatformX11, following the pattern Create{T}Bleh (i.e. “Create”+”OzonePlatform”+”X11”).

The actual logic

In order to understand how PlatformObject class works, lets start by looking at its definition (ui/ozone/platform_object.h & platform_internal_object.h):

template <class T> class PlatformObject {
  static std::unique_ptr<T> Create();
16 template <class T>
17 std::unique_ptr<T> PlatformObject<T>::Create() {
18     typedef typename PlatformConstructorList<T>::Constructor Constructor;
20     // Determine selected platform (from --ozone-platform flag, or default).
21     int platform = GetOzonePlatformId();
23     // Look up the constructor in the constructor list.
24     Constructor constructor = PlatformConstructorList<T>::kConstructors[platform];
26     // Call the constructor.
27     return base::WrapUnique(constructor());
28 }

In line 24 (highlighted above), the ozone platform runtime selection machinery actually happens. It retrieves a Constructor, which is a typedef for a PlatformConstructorList<T>::Constructor.

By looking at the definition of PlatformConstructorList class (below), Constructor is actually a pointer to a function that returns a T*.

14 template <class T>
15 struct PlatformConstructorList {
16     typedef T* (*Constructor)();
17     static const Constructor kConstructors[kPlatformCount];
18 };

Ok, so basically here is what we know this far:

  1. OzonePlatform::CreateInstance method calls OzonePlatform<bleh>::Create
  2. OzonePlatform<bleh>::Create picks up an index and retrieves a PlatformConstructorList<bleh>::Constructor (via kConstructor[index])
  3. PlatformConstructorList<bleh>::Constructor is a typedef to a function pointer that returns a bleh*.
  4. (..)
  5. This chain ends up calling Create{bleh}{ozone_platform}()

But wait! kConstructors, the array of pointers to functions – that solves the puzzle – is not defined anywhere in src/! 🙂

This is because its actual definition is part of some generated code triggered by specific GN/GYP hooks. They are:

  • generate_ozone_platform_list which generates out/../platform_list.cc,h,txt
  • generate_constructor_list which generates out/../constructor_list.cc though generate_constructor_list.py

In the end out/../generate_constructor_list.cc has the definition of kConstructors.

Again, in the specific case of the given GN build arguments, kConstructors would look like:

template <> const OzonePlatformConstructor
PlatformConstructorList<ui::OzonePlatform>::kConstructors[] = {

Logic wrap up

  • GYP/GN hooks are ran at build time, and generate plaform_list.{txt,c,h} as well as constructor_list.cc files respecting ozone_platform_bleh parameters.
    • constructor_list.cc has PlatformConstructorList<bleh>kConstructors actually populated.
  • ./content_shell –ozone-platform=bleh is called
  • OzonePlatform::InitializeFor{UI,Gpu}()
  • OzonePlatform::CreateInstance()
  • PlaformObject<OzonePlatformBleh>::Create()
  • PlatformConstructorList<bleh>::Constructor is retrieved – it is a pointer to a function stored in PlatformConstructorList<bleh>::kConstructor
  • function is ran and an OzonePlatformBleh instance is returned.

One thought on “Understanding Chromium’s runtime ozone platform selection

  1. Are there any news about chromium on wayland? Frédéric Wang mentioned your recent work on chrome + mash, is there a public repository with your patches? I would definitely like to try chrome + egl on wayland on my platform.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *