A short glance at the History and Significance of the DirectX API over the years

It is easy to take rendering graphics for granted these days. All standard computers and mobile devices utilize graphical user interfaces, a far cry from the days of Command-Line Interfaces such as the MS-DOS. (Microsoft’s Disk Operating System). However, The actual libraries and codebases are very hard to understand. You may see a file named d3dx9_43.dll and wonder what this technical jibber-jabber aims to imply in the world. It refers to a library of DirectX 9. The nine here implies the 9th iteration of DirectX. All of this code and similar infrastructure and pipelines were created by some of the earliest pioneers in the field of Software Development and Computer Engineering. This piece aims to shed some light on this topic.

History

It is easy to forget that computers did not generate graphics at one point in time; the only interface available was a Command Line Interface. The concept of rendering had not been conceived of. But as rendering “objects” started, the importance of drawing graphics via tapping directly into hardware was realized. Eventually, the trend would shift towards Graphical User Interfaces, making it even more essential to have a robust rendering pipeline for any piece of Software. 

Meeting a new requirement

This was exacerbated by the fact that slowly many industries started having a multimedia bent to them, and computers were becoming essential. For example, the Movie and Music Industry started relying heavily on computers. This amped up Graphical User Interfaces’ requirement and hastened the pace of development on technology to render visuals on computers. This led to the innovation and development of projects such as DirectX and similar Application Programming Interfaces that aim to streamline and simplify the process of developing and executing graphics-intensive applications such as Video Games on a standard personal computer.

Microsoft’s Response – DirectX

There was an element of competition that hastened development as well. Gaming specifically, before the 2000s, was subject to dedicated home consoles and not personal computers. DirectX was Microsoft’s response to streamlining development and making it palatable for developers to port their work for the Windows-based Personal Computer by creating an easy-to-use Application Programming Interface.

These days it is easy to update and maintain your libraries on a Windows PC. If a random DirectX file requirement arises, say you have to add d3dx9_43.dll on your PC due to any error, you can easily download it from a website. In this file, d3d refers to Direct3D, a sub-function of DirectX, a low-level API involved in rendering three-dimensional graphics in applications. Afterwards, dx9 refers to the fact that this is DirectX9, the 9th interaction of the DirectX suite. 

These factors make DirectX easy to understand and manage for the end-user. As a result of these accessible identifiers, it is easy for one, even if they may not be too tech-savvy, to troubleshoot any errors, and in this case, find a copy of d3dx9_43.dll on the internet if a need for the same arises.

The Present Scenario

DirectX has advanced a lot as time has passed and is now integrated with Windows 10. The current version is named DirectX 12 Ultimate. However, legacy software is still supported as much as possible, so there is still space for DirectX9 dependencies and files like d3dx9_43.dll to this day, so one may run applications from earlier iterations of Windows such as Windows XP and Vista on modern PCs running the latest and greatest in Windows.

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