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Developer Angst on Microsoft Visual C++ Futures

by James Vastbinder on Dec 06, 2010 |

Yesterday a video was posted to the Visual C++ blog in an attempt to answer community concerns about its future.  The post hit a raw nerve with the C++ community with no response from the Visual C++ team as yet. 

Craig S. is asking about ISO 2003 compliance around export:

I know that export was removed fro C++ 0x, but do you plan on fully supporting ISO 2003?

RJ stopped using Visual C++ after VC6:

Almost everything we need to develop with C++ is available free, like GCC, Boost, Qt, wxWidgets, Code::Blocks, SVN, CVS, Apache, mySQL, SQLite, Crypto++, OpenSSL, gSOAP, SOCI, ICU, OpenCV, FreeImage, ffmpeg, lib*, etc. I'm really glad that I don't have to use the slow and bloated VS IDE that is getting worse in every version.

Developer, jamome, feels C++ has become deprecated at MS and has moved to QT, which is a theme repeated several times by other devs:

I appreciate all the work gone into STL, but STL+MFC doesn't feel unified like QT

The most specific was Mike Diack who feels VC++ 6 was the last brilliant release.  As to specifics that ire him: 

1) WTL 8.1 is stuck in beta hell.

2) The help system still doesn't work, as Leo said and hasn't for years.

3) SxS DLLs are a pain, fortunately this DID get fixed in VS2010 - I hated it in 2005/8

4) The constant use of changing and incompatible solution/project file formats are a pig. Parsing the VS2010 ones can take so long now that Win7 can think the IDE has hung...

5) VS2010 wasn't the new 6, it wasn't even the new 2003. (Sorry Damien Watkins!)

Feature improvements were lacking in the video for future versions, but it didn't stop posters from making requests:

jschroedl commented:  

When some of the following things are available in the IDE, THEN I'll feel like we're getting some love:

1. Refactoring support on par with C#

2. Distributed builds

3. F1 help works as expected

4. Native AND Managed symbols reliably available while debugging a mixed-mode app. Debug visualizers would be the cherry on top.

5. C++/CLI intellisense

6. C++ code snippet support

The consensus in the comments is the Microsoft C++ compiler is lagging behind modern alternatives like GCC in performance and compliance while alternative frameworks like QT are more elegant and compelling.  InfoQ reader thoughts?

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Agreed by Filip Fracz

I use native C++, C++/CLI and C# daily at my work. While VS2010 C# support rocks, I really dislike (dread!) the times when I need to dive into C++ code. Intellisense hangs my IDE all the time. C++/CLI is totally sidelined (squiggles everywhere). MFC does not compare to modern frameworks like WPF; doesn't even come close to WinForms.

Also, why does MS cling so much to their VC++ compiler? Wouldn't it make sense to allow devs to plug-in other c++ compilers into Visual Studio? Microsoft's compiler is free, so they are only making money on the Studio itself. Why not give devs more choice? Better yet - make the integration plugin open source. That would surely generate some chatter on slashdot...

Don't Agree by ahsan baig

I don't fully agree with the concerns echoed here. Visual C++ portion of Visual Studio has definitely improved over the years. Comparing VC6 to VC++ 2010 is like comparing programming in Assembly to using dynamic languages.

Coming to the C++ Standard support, VC++ 2010 is doing really great. C++0x support is real good.
Intellisense has improved with VS 2010

F1 also works nicely, though the help opens up in browser.

We shouldn't confuse C++ support in VS with Windows Specific Technologies like WTL, MFC etc.

Having said that, Intellisense can still be improved.

Don't agree by dr col

I don't agree with most of the concerns raised here. VC++ 2005 onwards is a significant improvement over VC 6. I do agree that refactoring support is still lacking but this can be easily solved by using Visual Assist X.

When comparing it to open source tools then I think it is miles ahead in terms of a usable UI - most of the open source C++ UIs don't work at all well on a windows platform.

In terms of the actual compilers then the Microsoft one is comparable to GCC. I'm using both at the moment to mitigate against potential compiler issues and improve portability of the code.

I suspect that the issue is one of priority as most of the dev teams at ms either use C++ (e.g. the OS teams) or are slowly migrating over to the managed world. It's obvious that ms have been putting their effort in the managed tool set and that the unmanaged tool set has been playing catch up for a number of years

Qt is a very impressive open source UI framework by Robert Sullivan


When comparing it to open source tools then I think it is miles ahead in terms of a usable UI - most of the open source C++ UIs don't work at all well on a windows platform.



Are you familiar with any open source C++ applications? They are actually run very well on Windows - as well as Mac OS X and Linux, and, especially in regards to Qt, have a very nice design, as one of the commenters above has pointed out, when compared to the MFC. Remember that an app that doesn't run very well on Windows may be because the application itself isn't designed well, and has nothing to do with the toolkit, just as you might find VC++ apps that don't run well. The toolkit is just that, a tool, it doesn't guarantee your app will be great.

but for an example, here's one that is very nice, and runs *great* on Windows, and Solaris, and Mac OS X and Linux:
bouml.free.fr/

Re: Qt is a very impressive open source UI framework by Roman Hnatiuk


but for an example, here's one that is very nice, and runs *great* on Windows, and Solaris, and Mac OS X and Linux:
bouml.free.fr/


Robert, I am sorry to say this, but the BOUML you mentioned looks... well... not the best. It reminds me Windows 3.11 UIs, only is less consistent (hello from Qt here). One does not have to be a designer (and no, it is not a question of taste) to see that it is totally missing the whole Windows experience point, despite something like this might be acceptable on Linux and Solaris.

Please note that I am not talking about BOUML's functionality - it very well might be the best UML tool in the known Universe.

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