Microsoft DirectX is a set of application program interface (API) that are used for creating and managing graphic images and multimedia effects in many multimedia applications such as games, active Web pages etc. that will run in Microsoft's Windows operating systems. In other words, Microsoft DirectX is described as a collection of graphics technologies that are designed to deliver the most advanced, visually impressive and stable graphics experience on Microsoft platforms.
By using the interfaces provided by the DirectX, the software developers can take the benefit of hardware features without concerning about the implementation details of that hardware. Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser comes with built-in capability to play these DirectX applications. Also, this standard is supported by a wide variety of consumer and workstation-class graphics software and hardware solutions.
DirectX consists of seven useful components:
DirectDraw: DirectDraw is an interface that lets you define two-dimensional images, manage double buffer and specify textures.
Direct3D: This API is provided for manipulating, developing and displaying three-dimensional objects.
DirectSound: This component enables playing of sounds with low latency and provides applications a high level of control over the hardware resources. It is mainly used for integrating and coordinating sound with images.
DirectMusic: It is used in combination with Microsoft DirectSound to provide a complete solution for playing music and sound effects in games and other applications.
DirectInput: Acts as an interface for input from the other I/O devices. It enables an application to retrieve data from input devices even when the application is in the background
DirectPlay: It is a plug-in for the end users. It acts as an interface for media-independent networking API that provides networking services at the transport protocol and session protocol levels.
DirectShow:Designed for streaming the media file on a Windows platform and to provide high-quality capture and playback of multimedia streams.
Advantages of DirectX
Any Windows-based software program can include DirectX commands; usually they are used in video games. For example, developers can use DirectX for controlling video playback, sound effects, and peripheral input devices like a keyboard, mouse, or joystick. Once, the DirectX commands are incorporated into a computer game, programmers can use all the predefined commands to manage the video and sound of their game, including the user input. This makes it easier for programmers to develop video games.
However, in order to create programs that use DirectX, software developers must use the DirectX Software Development Kit (SDK), provided by the Microsoft. This tool lets a developer to create or integrate graphic images, overlays, sprites, and other game elements, including sound. This DirectX API is available for Windows software and Xbox video games.