DirectX Software Development Kit June 2010
DirectX always produces topics of discussion between computer geeks no matter their level of knowledge. On a low level, these topics refer to the installation of the latest version when dealing with errors received upon starting games or other 3D applications.
DirectX is the key multimedia handler on Microsoft-based computers, game consoles or smartphones. It consists of APIs (application programming interfaces) such as Direct3D, DirectDraw, DirectPlay, DirectSound or DirectMusic that manage the connections between the software and the hardware.
The SDK (software development kit) of DirectX comprises redistributable runtime libraries to create DirectX compliant programs. It provides developers with the necessary tools, samples, debug files and documentation and it can only be installed on PCs running Windows XP or newer versions.
The DirectX API collection grows larger every day by implementing new technologies, updating old ones and even replacing them. The main API, Direct3D, manages the 3D graphics no matter the platform (whether we talk about PC, Xbox or Windows phones).
Other components control the creation of raster (2D) graphics (DirectDraw / Direct2D), fonts (DirectWrite) or web animations (DirectAnimation). Sound playback and processing also comes to life thanks to APIs like DirectSound or DirectMusic (XAudio2 and XACT3). Game controllers (keyboards, mice or joysticks) have their own assigned components when it comes to interfacing – DirectInput and XInput.
By introducing the WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model) and the new video memory manager along with it, DirectX moves to its 10th version and the game industry blooms as the new technology presents itself within the newly announced Windows Vista. It sets the image and sound quality standards higher by supporting ground-breaking features such as Shader Model 4.
Windows 7 comes with the next iteration in line, DirectX 11, and once again the hardware producers are given the opportunity to raise the bar. Among the stars of the show, GPGPU (general-purpose computing on graphics processing units) allows the programmers to use the power of the GPU in applications usually manipulated by the CPU. Other great features include tessellation support and better utilization of multi-core CPUs in games.
The stereoscopic 3D technology support is integrated in the Windows 8 version of DirectX as new features find themselves on the list of improvements and updates – DirectXMath, Xaudio2 or the better performing WDDM 1.2.
The DirectX SDK comes in handy to programmers and developers that want to keep their software's graphics up-to-date as new technologies are constantly revolutionizing the world of 3D applications.