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DirectX is a multimedia or graphics library for Microsoft's Windows just like OpenGL is to Linux. DirectX was first made for Windows 95. Originally, Windows used OpenGL, but Microsoft made DirectX as a more suitable replacement. DirectX contains many components which will be discussed below.
- Cross-platform Audio Creation Tool (XACT) - This is a high-level audio programming library. This library supports WAV, AIFF, and WMA audio files.
- Direct2D - This is used for rendering 2D graphics.
- Direct3D (D3D) - This is used for rendering 3D graphics.
- DirectCompute - This is needed for GPU computing.
- DirectDraw - This module is deprecated and Direct2D is used instead.
- DirectInput - See XInput.
- DirectMusic - This has been deprecated by XAudio2 and XACT3.
- DirectPlay - Video games played over a network would use this library (before it was deprecated).
- DirectSetup - DirectSetup installs DirectX.
- DirectSound - This has been deprecated by XAudio2 and XACT3.
- DirectSound3D (DS3D) - 3D sounds are played with this module.
- DirectWrite - Fonts are rendered with this module.
- DirectX Diagnostics (DxDiag) - DirectX problems are diagnosed and reported with this module.
- DirectX Media - This is used for streaming and playing 2D and 3D web animations.
- DirectX Media Objects - Encoders, decoders, and effects are streamed by this component.
- DXGI - DXGI is used to map between various graphics APIs such as OpenGL.
- XACT3 - This component is similar to XAudio2, but this is a higher level audio library.
- XAudio2 - This component is a low-level audio library.
- XInput - This module managed input from devices such as joysticks, mice, keyboards, or any other input used for video games including XBox controllers.
DirectX is compatible with the .NET Framework via libraries such as SlimDX, SharpDX, DirectShow.NET, and others.
Alternatives to DirectX include OpenGL, Mantle, Allegro, SDL, SFML, and many other graphics libraries.