Everything you need for working in the popular Microsoft API
Windows Vista / Windows 2003 / Windows XP
The DirectX SDK is a collection of utilities and other files that are necessary to write programs using the Microsoft DirectX graphics framework. It is important to know that the software development kit, or SDK, is intended for developers exclusively. Individuals who are looking for the DirectX package to allow a game or other piece of software to run need to download a separate package. Another thing to be aware of is that the DirectX SDK does not work on all systems, including some custom and older versions of Windows. It is also included in a different SDK for Windows 8.
DirectX is a graphics framework developed by Microsoft for Windows and some other systems. The SDK provides everything programmers need to create high-performance two- and three-dimensional (3D) graphics in C or C++. DirectX is unique because it allows programmers to use a relatively simple interface to connect to a wide range of hardware devices. The SDK is designed to provide a generic framework for sending graphics directly to a graphics card or processor. The DirectX SDK makes it possible to create applications or games that get dozens or more frames-per-second, while rendering 3D scenes in real time. It also provides access to specialized graphics card features that are specific to each manufacturer.
The main thing that is included in the DirectX SDK is the runtime library. The runtime is the actual application that needs to be executed in the background in order to make DirectX functional. It acts like a server or an engine. Applications send data through the runtime to the graphics card or main processor. It is possible to establish a graphics pipeline that optimizes tasks like vector transformations and hidden surface removal. The runtime needs to be integrated into a larger project and cannot be run by itself to do anything advanced.
The other thing that programmers receive with the DirectX SDK is a complete application programming interface (API). This interface includes header files for the C and C++ programming languages. It is possible to use the DirectX SDK with other languages although an intermediary software library will be needed with compiled native files. The headers are accompanied by API documentation. This documentation extensively lists the parameters for each function or method. They also include descriptions of what everything does. A final important part of the SDK is a tutorial. The tutorial walks programmers through how to use the different parts of the library to create graphical applications.
Some tools and utilities are included in the DirectX SDK. These tools are largely for diagnostic and testing purposes. They can help to make debugging code and finding errors much easier in complex programs. The reality is that the DirectX SDK is really intended to be used as part of a larger integrated development environment that includes visual tools. The DirectX SDK is a necessary download for anyone who wants to create high-quality 3D games or applications for the Windows operating system.