DirectX has a problem, and it’s common industry wide.
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This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.info.
First, let me start by saying that I love DirectX.
DirectX is best described as a set of programming interfaces that make
advanced multi-media applications, particularly games, work and work well.
DirectX allows these programs to work in ways that not only take maximum
advantage of the graphics hardware that they may be running on, but without really knowing just what the specifics of that hardware are.
It’s great. It’s enabled a number of advanced and very flashy PC
But I hate DirectX. Or more correctly, I hate its setup and
I get a steady stream of folks who’ve just purchased a new game or other
media-intensive application who are suddenly faced with the statement “This
application requires DirectX version 9 point whatever”. Frequently they already
have it, but apparently it’s not installed right. Just as frequently they go to
the Microsoft web site, download the latest version of DirectX, and attempt to
install it only to have it fail. Repeatedly. The normal approach might be to
uninstall it first, but of course, you can’t.
It’s extremely frustrating even for the most technical user.
In my opinion this is a symptom of a much larger problem that I see all to
often: setups that suck. All too often the folks who produce software focus all
their efforts on the product features and consider their installation only as
an afterthought. And their UN-installation? You’re lucky if they’ve thought
much about that at all. The net result is that many, many programs
install poorly and uninstall even worse. In fact it’s one of the major reasons
for junk left over in your registry.
Now, don’t get me wrong; installation and un-installation is hard. I’ve
managed teams responsible for that component of products in the past. In fact,
I’d bet that because of DirectX’s need to hook deep into the system, their
setup is extra hard.
But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it isn’t important. If
anything it means exactly the opposite. DirectX is a perfect example of a
complex installation process that clearly could have used more attention.
Any frazzled parent who’s just attempted to install the latest multi-media
game for their child on Christmas day will agree.
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Till next time, I’m Leo Notenboom, for askleo.info.