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.

The Essentials of the Windows Runtime – Coming Soon

The sequel to my COM courses is on its way. I’ve finally started work on “The Essentials of the Windows Runtime” for Pluralsight. This is a deep dive into the technology behind the new wave of platform APIs that define the Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 environments. Other courses at Pluralsight will teach you how to build apps for these environments. This course will teach you how and why they work under the hood.

The Essentials of the Windows Runtime is a behind-the-scenes look at WinRT, from its deep roots in COM, the influence of .NET, the Windows security model, asynchronous I/O, distribution, metadata, and much more. As I did with my course, The Essentials of COM, I’m going to start from the ground up and show you how it all comes together with C++. Once the mechanics are understood, I’ll show you how you can use both WRL and C++/CX to simplify different scenarios including component development, app development, using WinRT from the desktop, and of course Windows Phone will also be covered.

I won’t spend too much time on the WinRT libraries since those are easily grasped and covered in many other places but I will cover some of the foundational libraries including the core window model, graphics, containers, streams, security, and a few other interesting topics. There’s an interesting story to tell here and some great technology to discover. I hope you’ll join me in exploring the Window Runtime.

DirectComposition in Action – Coming Soon

Update: Go and watch the course now!

I’ve been spending a lot of time with DirectComposition lately. DirectComposition is the primary API for the Windows composition engine. DirectComposition in Action is the name of my next Pluralsight course. I’ve also written a series of articles on DirectComposition for MSDN Magazine. The first is scheduled for the June 2014 issue. 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.