Since it's the closest point of interest in the DirectX SDKs samples, I set out to build the most basic one. In order to build the EmptyProject sample in Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition, I've had to open the VS Project file for it in the IDE, tell it where to find the DirectX include and library directories, using a modeless dialog that can't even be resized! Then I have had to tell it where to find headers from another Sample entry it lists in a child node, which can't find the DirectX include directory specified in the top level project... Since I can't just right click the child node and modify it the same way as the parent node, I saved the solution and dug up the childs .vsproj.
Looking at the same stupid dialog, I notice that while the last time around I had to go to "Resources -> General" to specify an additional include directory for the pre-processor (which for some brain damaged reason wasn't under "C/C++ -> Preprocessor"), there was no Resources entry in the tree.
At this point, I just said, "FUCK YOU!", went back to the original project file. Went to "C/C++ -> Command Line" entry in the configuration, and manually added the /I"path" switch to find the included directory. Then I did like wise under the "Linker -> Command Line" section to manually add the /LIBPATH:"path" switch with the path to the required .lib files. Saved the solution and built the project. Guess what? Doing it that way: EVERYTHING WORKED!!! Ok, it is widely known to be an ultra-standard need, that you've got to tell your build system where to find things, yeah that's right—but you would think samples included with an SDK would pull in parts of the SDK.
Maybe I am just an old man at heart but somehow, I find it interesting that in 2009, it is still faster to just use a Command Line style interfaces then many Graphical User interfaces \o/. Come on, it's only been about 35~40 years since the GUI was invented, and GUIs really took off during the late 1980s. It still makes me crawl... that they still suck just as bad as they did in 1990. Even worse, aside from the mouse on everyones desktop now're days, beyond the obvious increases in eye candy in the 2000s, I don't see much usability changes in GUI software, that were not in Mac OS and Windows back in the 1980s. System 1 and Windows 1.0 were especially ugly compared to Windows XP and OS X, and things like Vista and KDE4.3 are very sexy, but heck, what's really changed since the old days?
I could almost swear, there has not been one serious improvement under Windows, since adding overlapping windows in '87ish