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MFC Update

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Despite a recent emphasis on Windows 8 Metro, Microsoft has renewed its pledge to support MFC which they call “the most fully-featured library for building native desktop applications”. While there were no major features announced, a lot of effort was put in to bug fixes and general improvements.

In Visual Studio 2010 the size of statically linked MFC applications increased significantly. Microsoft didn’t discover the cause of this flaw until shortly before the release VS 10. By restructuring the source models, simple dialog-based MFC applications can see an 80% reduction in size. Applications using MFC controls on a dialog cannot take advantage of this and compatibility issues prevent back-porting the fix to Visual Studio 10.

Other improvements include:

  • Fixed DLLMain best practices violations by deferring initialization of the afxGlobalData structure
  • Fixed over 220 bugs, nearly 100 of which were reported by customers via the Connect web site
  • Fixed a large number of paint/draw issues (in toolbars, splitters, theme switches, etc.)
  • Fixed several memory leaks (in CMFCVisualManager and CMFCButton classes)
  • Added a number of missing exports (methods and data) to the MFC import libraries

The first version of MFC or Microsoft Foundation Classes was released in 1992 to simplify Windows development. Prior to its introduction Windows developers had to choose between using the severely limited Visual Basic 1.0 or painstakingly building applications using C and raw Windows API calls. MFC is seen as one of the key technologies that allowed Windows to beat IBM’s much better funded OS/2 operation system.

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