Ever encountered small print under program description - saying that it requires something installed? Which is often ten times larger than program itself.
It's because some software is made to run on certain framework. You have framework needed installed - it works. You don't - it doesn't. Such model has some advantages and disadvantages but they aren't in focus for today.
This post covers core frameworks that are most widely used on Windows platform. They are worth installing (and keeping up to date) because:
- plenty of software and/or web stuff needs them
- ignoring their updates is huge security risk
Microsoft .NET Framework
.NET Framework is rather large download but rarely updated. Install once and forget is good enough. Windows Vista includes it out of the box.
Home page microsoft.com/net
Not really framework but pretty much same for end users. DirectX is another Microsoft technology that powers most of graphic and video related tasks. It is heavily used by games and by Windows interface itself.
DirectX version 10 is exclusively included in Windows Vista. Older ones use DirectX version 9 which is updated around every other month. Updates are mostly minor so keeping up only matters for heavy gamers.
Download Page filehippo.com/download_directx
(FileHippo link for the sake of simplicity, downloading from Microsoft is a mess)
Java Runtime Environment
It is updated relatively often and worth keeping up to date (anything online related is possible security risk). Worth mention that installing latest version does not overwrite or uninstall previous ones so they can quickly eat lots of space if forgotten.
Home page java.sun.com
(FileHippo link for the sake of simplicity, downloading from Sun is a mess)
Adobe Flash Player
Another not-really-framework. This one handles all online animation in highly popular Adobe Flash format (SWF and FLV files). Including online video (like YouTube), online games, animated menus (or whole sites) and even advertisement.
Comes in two separate packages - for Microsoft Internet Explorer and for other browsers. Updates are infrequent but mostly security related so very important.
Home page adobe.com/products/flashplayer