A set of APIs developed by Microsoft that enables programmers to write programs that access hardware features of a computer without knowing exactly what hardware will be installed on the machine where the program eventually runs. DirectX achieves this by creating an intermediate layer that translates generic hardware commands into specific commands for particular pieces of hardware. In particular, DirectX lets multimedia applications take advantage of hardware acceleration features supported by graphics accelerators.
DirectX 2, released in 1996, supports the Direct3D architecture. DirectX 5, released in 1998, adds new layers to the DirectX API, In addition to the low-level layer that communicates directly with multimedia hardware, DirectX 5 also includes a Media layer that enables programmers to manipulate multimedia objects and streams. DirectX 5 also supports USB and IEEE 1394 buses, AGP, and MMX.
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Webopedia Did You Know...? All About DirectX
While you may be familiar with the "Would you like to install DirectX now?" window, do you know what DirectX is, and why it is important to keep an updated version of it on your PC?
DirectDraw programming paper
This paper provides a high-level overview of DirectDraw and code samples to demonstrate its use.
DirectX developer page
Offers a collection of articles, book reviews, resources, and tips and tricks for DirectX development and Windows 95 games programming.
The DirectX Developer's Page
The DirectX Developer's site contains programming tips and tricks, articles, DirectX files, and resources that include books, mailing lists, and Web and FTP sites.
What is DirectX?
Contains an overview of DirectX along with information about DirectDraw, DirectPlay, DirectInput, DirectSound, Direct3D.
Yahoo!'s DirectX page
Yahoo!'s directory of DirectX.