[vtkusers] [vtk-developers] DirectX rendering for VTK

kent williams nkwmailinglists at gmail.com
Tue Mar 3 10:49:36 EST 2009

Starbase and XGL? I shudder to think. I used to have to support those
platforms, along with BOTH old-school GL and OpenGL.  Believe me, I am
very thankful for the way VTK insulates me from that madness.

Since Windows has supported OpenGL natively for several revisions,
that this isn't a necessary project.

I don't know what DirectX adds except dependency on a single
closed-source vendor with a habit of writing over-complicated APIs and
then documenting them poorly.  Plus, Microsoft is a world unto itself
-- they could decide tomorrow that DirectX is old hat and force some
New Shiny down developer's throats.  One _can_ become a Microsoft
Developer, but it's a lot like becoming a Scientologist -- it's
expensive, requires you learn a completely new set of obscure jargon,
and you'll end up feeling royally screwed.

Seriously, while I appreciate the idea of maintaining the 'graphics
language independence' in VTK in the abstract, in the real world,
putting the time and effort and money into supporting DirectX just
isn't worth it. And I don't think there's anyone out there in the VTK
user/developer community who has both the skillset and desire to
contribute the necessary code.  Kitware would have to pay someone to
do this, and while it's not my place to tell the fine people of
Kitware their business, this is probably a couple hundred thousand
dollars best spent elsewhere.

On Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 4:37 PM, Lisa Avila <lisa.avila at kitware.com> wrote:
> Kitware may have the opportunity to create a DirectX interface for VTK (to
> mirror the OpenGL interface). I am sending this email to the VTK community
> in order to gather "support" stories that would justify this effort.
> If you are a long-time VTK user / developer, then you are probably aware
> that VTK has an abstraction layer on top of the underlying graphics language
> in order to support cross-platform operation. In the early days, VTK
> supported not only OpenGL, but also Starbase (for use on HP computers) and
> XGL (for use on Sun computers). In time, HP and Sun switched to OpenGL, and
> support for Starbase and XGL were dropped from VTK. Even though VTK now only
> supports OpenGL, the abstraction layer has been maintained to allow us to
> add another graphics language should the need arise. DirectX has been on our
> radar screen for years; however it has been low on our priority list since
> it would not expand the cross-platform reach of VTK.
> I'd like to see DirectX support added to VTK because I believe this would
> help us re-validate our "graphics language independent" abstraction layer
> which may have been breached in the years of having only OpenGL support. But
> I'm not sure if that is enough of a reason to pursue this effort :-) so I am
> looking to the user / developer community to see if there are additional
> reasons why DirectX support in VTK would be valuable. If you have any
> supporting arguments for this work, please send them directly to me at
> lisa.avila at kitware.com. If I do receive any, I'll be sure to summarize the
> responses back to this list.
> Thank you,
> Lisa
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