In the first half of April 2010, I was telling you that Microsoft was gearing up to tailor the software development kit for Windows 7 in accordance with the release of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4. Well, version 7.1 of the Windows SDK for Windows 7 and .NET Framework 4 is now available for download. Via the Microsoft Download Center, the Redmond-based company is offering two versions of the SDK, in either ISO or Web Setup format. Developers can, of course, grab the release immediately, and start taking advantage of the enhancements introduced since the previous version, which was delivered along with Windows 7 in 2009.

According to the software giant, the latest release of the SDK will enable developers to install it and build applications for the following operating systems: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XPSP3, and Windows Server 2003 R2. But just because the release is labeled Windows SDK for Windows 7 and .NET Framework 4 7.1, it does not mean that devs are limited to .NET 4. More »

Microsoft is currently cooking a refresh to the Windows 7 RTM DirectX resources that it is offerings to developers. In this regard, Chuck Walbourn, lead developer for the DirectX SDK, revealed that a new version of the software development kit was planned for mid-2010. Specifically, the software giant intends to ship the next release of the DirectX SDK in the first half of June 2010. Walbourn emphasized that the upcoming version of the SDK was designed to deliver the first update to the Windows Graphics components since August 2009. At the same time, the refresh will help developers embrace the latest iteration of the company’s development platform and tools.

Developers looking to leverage the June 2010 release of the DirectX SDK, a release that they will be able to use in order to build on top of Windows 7 by taking advantage of DirectX 11, need to know that the refresh will play nice with Visual Studio 2010 RTM. In addition to delivering support for Visual Studio 2010, the June 2010 DirectX SDK will also play nice with Visual Studio 2008. But this is about it, as Microsoft will drop support for Visual Studio 2005 with the upcoming version of the SDK. Microsoft released Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 on April 12, 2010. The previous release of the DirectX Software Development Kit dates back to February 2010. 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 »

In addition to the performance enhancements built into its latest iteration of the Windows client, Microsoft is offering additional tools for download for customers and partners that want to squeeze all the extra juice from the OS. Case in point, the Windows Performance Analysis Tools, also referred to as the Windows Performance Toolkit, was released ahead of Windows 7, and included as an integral part of the operating system’s software development kit. Microsoft underlines that while “the WPT Kit is useful to a broad audience,” the tools will serve better specific audiences including “system builders, hardware manufacturers, driver developers, and general application developers.”

End users are missing from the enumeration above, and for good reason. The Windows 7 RTM Performance Analysis Tools are, in fact, designed to ensure a high level of hardware and software performance before the finalized products and solutions make it into the hands of home users. In this sense, the Windows Performance Toolkit is set up to permit the analysis and measuring of both system and application performance not just on Windows 7, but also Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008. More »

In 2009 Microsoft kicked PowerShell up a notch to the next level, a move which coincided with the release of the latest iteration of the Windows client, Windows 7. In this context, July 22nd marked the release to manufacturing of PowerShell 2.0, while October 22nd was synonymous with the general availability, as the new Windows command-line shell ships included by default into Windows Vista’s successor. Now developers can also access the Windows PowerShell 2.0 software development kit (SDK) which is designed to bring to the table not only sample code, but also reference assemblies that enable the creation of applications with Windows PowerShell at the core.

“This SDK contains reference assemblies and samples that demonstrates how to use the Windows PowerShell 2.0 APIs to build a rich set of applications. In this package, you will find sample code which shows how to use the new PowerShell class, how to write cmdlets that supports eventing, transactions and jobs. In addition, there are examples of host applications that connect to remote computers using individual runspaces and runspace pools. This SDK also includes modified Windows PowerShell 1.0 samples using the modified and improved Windows PowerShell 2.0 APIs,” Microsoft revealed. More »