Having backported a number of key Windows 7 technologies, including DirectX 11 from Windows 7 to its predecessor, Microsoft is now offering users of Windows Vista Service Pack (SP2) a platform update supplement. The recently released Platform Update Supplement Beta for Windows Vista is obviously designed to catalyze the evolution of the Platform Update for Windows Vista. According to the Redmond company, the supplement is in Beta stage at this point in time, so end users should not install it yet, and leave the testing to early adopters familiar with running pre-release software.

“A beta release of the Platform Update Supplement for Windows Vista is available. This update provides fixes and improvements to graphics, media foundation and print functionality in Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2),” Microsoft stated.

Microsoft also enumerated the changes delivered by the Platform Update Supplement, including More »

Microsoft has made available for download new resources associated with the underlining graphics technology in its Windows operating system, including the latest version of the operating system. Windows 7 brought to the table DirectX 11, a technology which was also backported to Windows Vista SP2 via the Platform Update for Windows Vista. No less than three downloads were made available at the end of the past week by the Redmond company: the DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer, the DirectX End-User Runtimes (February 2010), and DirectX Software Development Kit.

All three DirectX resources have been updated for the first time in 2010. “The Microsoft DirectX End-User Runtime provides updates to 9.0c and previous versions of DirectX — the core Windows technology that drives high-speed multimedia and games on the PC,” Microsoft stated. DirectX End-User Runtimes (February 2010) is “the DirectX end-user multi-languaged redistributable that developers can include with their product. This package is localized into Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Swedish, and English,” the company added.

The core of the DirectX February 2010 update is without a doubt the software development kit Microsoft is offering developers to streamline the building of DirectX compliant applications. The SDK package contains tools, utilities, samples, documentation, as well as the runtime debug files for 64-bit (x64) and (32-bit) x86 Windows. More »

Although word of DirectX 11 has been around for over a year, with Microsoft sharing actual details with developers and partners, Windows 7’s graphics technology will only from now come into play. With the latest iteration of the Windows client available for purchase for a little over a month, customers worldwide can start taking advantage of the successor of DirectX 10, by leveraging Windows 7 computers in concert with DirectX 11 graphics cards. At this years’ Professional Developers Conference, the Redmond company share additional details related to DX11 in no less than two sessions.

Less fortunate devs that were unable to attend PDC 2009 can still access conference content from Microsoft, with video available on both DX11 sessions. Developers interested in Direct3D, Direct2D, and DirectWrite can watch “Modern 3D Graphics Using Windows 7 and Direct3D 11 Hardware” and “Advanced Graphics Functionality Using DirectX.”

“With the onset of new Direct3D 11 hardware, gain practical knowledge to help you push graphics to the limit. Learn about the new tessellation stage in Direct3D 11, which enables an unprecedented level of rendering quality by dynamically generating geometry on the GPU. In addition, see how the multi-core improvements in the Direct3D 11 runtime can help you scale your application to take full advantage of all of the cores on a machine. More »

Microsoft has made available for download updated DirectX 11 resources tailored to Windows 7 and Windows Vista, but also additional Windows client and server operating systems. According to the Redmond-based company, the refreshed DirectX 11 release brings to the table the RTM version of Direct3D. Essentially, what it is offering is an update for the DirectX software development kit. Developers are free to grab the SDK via the Microsoft Download Center since September 8, 2009.

“The August 2009 DirectX SDK contains the first official release of the DirectX developer resources for Direct3D 11, DXGI 1.1, Direct2D, and DirectWrite. Developers can now publish and distribute Direct3D 11 applications and games that leverage all of the software and hardware features of DirectX 11 in Windows 7 and Windows Vista,” Microsoft noted. “ll headers, import libraries, and symbol files (.pdb files) are no longer marked as beta with the ‘_beta’ suffix and now link to the RTM versions of the runtimes. In addition, the HLSL compiler features for Direct3D 11 are now of release quality. The beta DLLs are no longer available in the DirectX SDK.”

With the August 2009 DirectX Software Development Kit update, Microsoft is offering developers the new Effects runtime for Direct3D 11. More »