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DirectX VC++ Directories

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Hi there,

I was recently able to restor the sourcecode of an old project (Bomberfun Tournament) and was trying to get it compiled with Visual Studio 2010. The project has been developed with Visual Studio .NET 2003 based upon DirectX 9.0c (don't ask which of the updates...).

Althouth it worked more or less good, I am wondering about the DirectX directories. In the past, I configured the executable, include and library directories in the Visual Studio options dialog. Nowadays, the dialog reminds me friendly, that those settings have been moved to the project properties.

Since DirectX installs itself into directories such as

  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft DirectX 9.0 SDK (December 2004) or
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft DirectX SDK (June 2010)

    I was wondering, what your best practices are in regards to a proper configuration.

    Is it possible to have different versions of DirectX installed to different directories, but have some sort of symbolic link from something like C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft DirectX SDK Current to the respective installation directory and have this "directory" set in all the properties of the specific projects?

    EDIT: Such a dumb question... the setup configures an environment variable which is available in VS as $(DXSDK_DIR) ... d'oh...

    Christian. Edited by Mephisztoe

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N.B. it is possible to have more than one version of an SDK installed, and it's possible that you're working on more than one project, and that each project relies on specific different versions of those SDKs.

This is why using environment variables (or that IDE-wide, instead of project-wide, GUI) to globally configure paths is not a "best practice" -- it means you can't work on more than a single project at a time unless they're all designed to use the same SDK versions.
Each project should link to the version that it's designed to use, and not depend on global settings.
Side rant: This is also why Linux can be such an unprofessional development environment -- the entire culture behind it is hooked on installing system-global SDKs, disregarding professional versioning requirements (such as two products requiring different versions of an SDK).

If you don't want to specify the directory in your project's properties, an alternative can be to use a symlink. I've worked on a few projects where, after checking out the project from source control, you would run a BAT file to create a bunch of necessary links.
e.g. if your project files exist at "[font=courier new,courier,monospace]d:\Projects\FooBar[/font]", and your current SDK at "[font=courier new,courier,monospace]c:\SDK2010[/font]"
then you can use a command such as [font=courier new,courier,monospace]mklink /J D:\Projects\FooBar\CurrentSDK c:\SDK2010[/font]
which will make it appear that the SDK exists inside your project directory. When you want to upgrade versions, you can re-make this symlink. Edited by Hodgman

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Great reply!

First of all, I was wondering if it would make sense to create nuget packages from the different DirectX versions. Since the SDKs only contain a bunch of subfolders with headers, libs, utilities, etc. it would make more sense to have them included in the folder structure of the specific project to make sure that the projects are independent of versions installed whereever else.

With nuget, my problems regarding library versions instantly disappeared (working on business projects, not game dev)... so why not apply that to DirectX components?

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