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A driver development kit (DDK) is a software product offered by a software vendor or third-party development firm. It allows hardware vendors to develop software drivers for their hardware products. A DDK is intended to make the development process easy and typically includes detailed documentation and sample projects. It may include a build environment with testing tools for driver developers. This type of tool kit is often released by an operating system (OS) vendor to help developers build a software driver for a certain hardware product, or to update an existing software application driver to suit a newly released OS.
Typically, device manufacturers and software application developers use DDKs to make hardware compatible with one or more operating systems (OS). Some DDKs may be easily obtained from OS vendors. In those instances, the vendor has an interest in having a wide variety of hardware products that are compatible with the new OS.
However, third parties also develop DDKs to sell. A notable difference in these third-party DDKs is that they typically support operating systems from a certain vendor. Most DDKs include sample projects, an application programming interface (API) or component object model (COM) library and documentation. Some even contain a debugging utility, compiler, testing tools or other utilities.