Today on the Windows Team Blog we announced the Platform Update for Windows Vista. This is a set of runtime libraries that makes it easy for developers to target both Windows 7 and Windows Vista. I am very pleased to tell you that the Platform Update for Windows Vista includes the new DirectX package, including DirectWrite, Direct2D, Direct3D 11, updates to the Windows Imaging Components, XPS Print API, XPS Rasterization Service, and DXGI 1.1, enabling all new DirectX technologies on Windows Vista as well as Windows 7. In addition, the package provides several other libraries for Windows Vista for ISVs and developers that are transitioning to Windows 7 that make it easier to target and support a mixed customer base of Windows 7 and Windows Vista-based systems.
Windows Graphics, Imaging, and XPS Library
Latest iteration of the DirectX platform: Direct3D 11, Direct3D 10 Level 9, WARP, Direct2D, DXGI 1.1, DirectWrite, Windows Imaging Components, and XPS Print API, XPS Rasterization Service.
Windows Automation API
Allows accessibility tools and test automations to access Windows user interface in a consistent way across operating system versions.
Windows Portable Devices Platform
Supplies the infrastructure to standardize data transfers between an application and a portable device, such as a mobile phone, digital camera, or portable media player.
Windows Ribbon and Animation Manager Library
Includes the Windows Ribbon API, a command framework that enables developers to quickly and easily create rich ribbon experiences in their applications, and the Windows Animation Manager API, an animation framework for managing the scheduling and execution of user interface element animations. The Windows Animation Manager API can be used with any graphics platform including Direct2D, Direct3D, or GDI+.
The Platform Update for Windows Vista will be supplied through Windows Update as a "recommended" install. The package requires Windows Vista SP2 or Windows Server 2008 SP2 or higher, and will be made available to the general public to download during the Windows 7 general availability time frame.
This package provides many cool features from Windows 7 onto Windows Vista in order to make sure developers can target the widest audience without having to wait for everyone to upgrade to Windows 7 in the next few months. That being said, Windows 7 is really the best experience we are providing and if you haven’t already, we recommend checking it out for yourself at our Windows 7 tour site. If you are a TechNet subscriber, you can even get the RTM version of Windows 7 early at the Windows TechNet site!
So what happens from now until Windows 7 general availability? We’ve set up a public beta for the Platform Update for Windows Vista to let developers try it out and for testing deployment. The public beta is also on Windows Update, but you must configure your machine to receive it. We’ve put all the proper setup procedures into a tool you can download off the Microsoft Download Center. Please refer to this download page for information and instructions.
In order to create software that uses DirectX, you’ll need an SDK to properly target the technologies. Probably the fastest way is to get the DirectX SDK, which includes the headers and import libraries for most DirectX technologies. We just launched the August 2009 DirectX SDK which is available now. This is the RTM version to match Windows 7 and the Platform Update for Windows Vista, containing the first official release of the DirectX developer resources for Direct3D 11, DXGI, Direct2D, and DirectWrite. The DirectX SDK also includes a multitude of samples and tutorials for Direct3D, as well as the documentation for Direct3D and DXGI. Alternatively, the Windows 7 SDK is the best way to go to get started with the Windows Imaging Components. In addition, the Windows SDK includes documentation and code samples for Direct2D, DirectWrite, and the Windows Imaging Components. With these SDKs, developers can now publish and distribute applications and games that leverage all of the software and hardware features of DirectX in Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
Using the Platform Update for Windows Vista
Once the Platform Update for Windows Vista goes live, users who have enabled automatic updates will have the DirectX components installed automatically. This way, most Windows users on Windows Vista or Windows 7 will be ready to use DirectX content shortly after Windows 7 general availability.
However, not everyone will have Windows Update enabled on their machine. Our data indicates the number of people in this situation will be low, but if you want to target as many customers as possible it would be good to check. To help with this, we've included two resources in the August DirectX SDK: a technical article, "Direct3D 11 Deployment for Game Developers", which describes the Windows Update landscape in a little more detail and provides recommendations, and a code sample called the D3D11InstallHelper which builds into an executable that will execute the whole installation experience for you. In addition, the code sample also provides a set of APIs that allows you to kick off the installation of Platform Update for Windows Vista from within your application or installer. These resources install the entire Platform Update for Windows Vista, so although they reference Direct3D 11 in the name, rest assured that all of DirectX is covered. Check out the August 2009 DirectX SDK for details.
Thanks for reading, and we look forward to seeing the amazing applications you will make with DirectX!