A driver is an essential component to your computer’s operating system. It allows the computer to work with hardware, virtual storage, and other devices. The most common thought about drivers is that they are notoriously difficult to deal with.
Creating a simple device driver is hard. In fact, some major companies have difficulty getting it right. Driver development is an area of software that is detached and specific, requiring its own specialists, techniques, and processes.
This article will give you an overview on drivers and how to utilize them for your next coding project.
So let’s start!
What is a Driver?
A driver is software that allows the system to use different devices. But this definition is rather incomplete – in reality, multiple types of drivers exist, and they fit the following criteria:
Functional drivers: These are the classic drivers that use a standard device access interface. Functional drivers are made by device manufacturers, such as audio-device vendors and graphics cards vendors, etc.
Filter Driver: Filter drivers don’t directly connect to the device, but they are involved in processing the requests directed to the devices. Usually, the I/O requests from your system to a device is processed via a driver stack.
Filter drivers can log, modify requests, or restrict access to the device. For instance, antiviruses (which use file-system filter drivers) can check the contents of each file before allowing it to be opened.
Software Drivers: Unlike the previous drivers, software drivers don’t process requests in individual devices. For example, to create an application that searches for hidden processes, you’ll need access to the system kernel. Then, you can divide the application into two parts. One part will have a user mode and create a graphical interface; while the other one will run in the system’s kernel mode and give access to your closed-system data.
From a programmer’s perspective, a driver is a group of functions that process requests to one or a group of devices. The programmer includes certain procedures based on processed requests.
Elevated privileges in the kernel mode might include additional responsibilities for the developer; this means that any mistake within the code might result in the driver not loading or a system crash in severe cases.
The development language for your Windows drivers is selected based on the driver type:
- User-mode drivers are made in C++. Interaction with Windows Development Kit (WDK) happens through COM interfaces.
- The Windows Driver Kit for the kernel driver only supports C language.
When Should I Test My Drivers?
Once you’ve determined the requirements for your driver, you can create test cases to see if the initial requirements were added. Studies show that finding and fixing bugs becomes more expensive as the project progresses. Because of this, it’s best to test your drivers early to save time and money on your project.
To conclude, you have to learn driver development if you want to become a coding professional. We suggest that you devote time each day to creating, testing, and deploying drivers so that it can run smoothly when its deployed.