A Modern Update

I’ve received many requests for news on the progress of Modernthe Modern C++ Library for Windows – my new project that provides a Standard C++ language projection for the Windows Runtime along with first-class support for component development. Some folks have also offered to contribute to the library. Modern isn’t really a library as much as it is a library generator. Technically, Modern is a compiler that produces modern C++ code that may then be used to build apps and components.

I have started using it myself and am really enjoying the experience but it has a few rough edges that I need to work on before I can make it more widely available. I’m also planning to support DirectX 12, but I don’t yet have my hands on the API. As usual, the challenge is finding the time as I have other work that keeps me busy. I have lined up a handful of beta testers. Once I’ve freed up some time I hope to make a build available to them.

DirectComposition: A Retained-Mode API to Rule Them All

My latest article for MSDN Magazine is now online. This is the third article in the series on DirectComposition. You can find links to my other articles here.

DirectComposition: A Retained-Mode API to Rule Them All

The choice between immediate-mode and retained-mode traditionally came down to a trade-off between performance and productivity. Developers could pick the Direct2D immediate-mode API for absolute performance or the WPF retained-mode API for productivity or convenience. DirectComposition changes this equation by allowing developers to blend the two far more naturally. It blurs the line between immediate-mode and retained-mode APIs because it provides a retained-mode for graphics, but without imposing any memory or performance overhead.

This is also the first article to include sample code in years, so do take DirectComposition for a spin today. And if that’s not enough, check out my latest online course where I show you how to make the most of DirectComposition and Direct2D.

Embracing the Windows Composition Engine

My second article about DirectComposition is now available in MSDN Magazine:

Embracing the Windows Composition Engine

The Windows composition engine represents a departure from a world in which each DirectX app requires its own swap chain to one where even so fundamental a construct is unnecessary. Sure, you can continue to write Direct3D and Direct2D apps using a swap chain for presentation, but you no longer have to. The composition engine brings us that much closer to the metal—the GPU—by allowing apps to create composition surfaces directly.

If you’d like to learn more then be sure to check out my latest course, DirectComposition in Action, where I provide a practical tour of the DirectComposition API.

High-Performance Window Layering Using the Windows Composition Engine

My first article about DirectComposition is now available online in MSDN Magazine:

High-Performance Window Layering Using the Windows Composition Engine

If you like layered windows then this is going to blow your mind. The Windows composition engine is seriously cool and completely changes the way application windows are rendered on the desktop. If you’d like to learn more then be sure to check out my latest course, DirectComposition in Action, where I provide a practical tour of the DirectComposition API.

The Desktop Window Manager

I wrote a lot about the Desktop Window Manager (DWM) back when it first debuted in the Windows Vista beta releases. You can read those articles here and here. This dates back to 2006. At that time all we had was the rather limited DWM API. While it was interesting and neat to be able to extend a window’s glassy frame and apply the blur to the client area, it was also clear that the operating system was holding back on us. The DWM was capable of a lot more. Fast forward to Windows 8 and the operating system finally allows us to use the awesome power of the DWM inside our own applications. DWM is the name of the Windows composition engine and my new course tells the story of the new API that lets you tap into its power:

DirectComposition in Action

Learn how to use DirectComposition to easily produce high-performance visual effects with the Windows composition engine.

dwm

DirectComposition in Action

My latest Pluralsight course is now available online:

DirectComposition in Action

Learn how to use DirectComposition to easily produce high-performance visual effects with the Windows composition engine.

DirectComposition is the primary API for the Windows composition engine. Have you ever wondered what the DWM process is up to? Did you wish you could tap into some of its power? Then this course is for you. The DirectComposition API enables you to build the highest-performance native graphics applications using a “retained mode” graphics API. The composition engine retains a visual tree of bitmaps that may be rendered with “immediate mode” graphics APIs such as Direct2D or Direct3D. You get the best of both worlds and can achieve visual effects at a performance level that was never possible prior to the introduction of the DirectComposition API. This course will give you a practical tour of the API by showing you how to build a DirectX-based card game from scratch, producing animated transitions for a visually engaging user interface.

Go and watch it now!

Here’s a preview of what you can expect. This is a little game I wrote for the kids that illustrates some of the power of DirectComposition and the Windows composition engine.