C++ Language, WPF

By Jeff Cogswell  |  Posted 2010-04-23 Print this article Print

But let's not forget there's this other language (which I've written a few books about) called C++. Now remember: There are two aspects to C++ in Visual Studio. There's the native C++ that gets compiled to native Intel assembly code (for developing Win32 applications), and there's the managed C++, which gets compiled to intermediate code for running under the .NET framework.

The C++ compiler now supports many features of the new C++0x language, which should become a standard very soon. For example you can now use lambda functions in your C++ code.

Further, believe it or not, MFC is still alive and well and includes support for Windows 7 features as well as Office features such as the Ribbon. (That almost makes me want to go back to using MFC again after all these years. But maybe not.) And remember ATL? To quote the great Homer Simpson: "Is that thing still around?"

Indeed it is.
And let's not forget the C++ standard library, which now includes many of the C++0x features. (But why "many" and not "all" of the features? Because the C++0x standard hasn't been finalized yet.)


Now here's a question for the current Visual Studio developers: Do you use WPF? I'm guessing not. Over the past few years of being active in the Visual Studio community, it's become clear to me that the majority of programmers using Visual Studio have, for various reasons, ignored WPF, even though developing desktop applications is arguably much easier in WPF than with the older .NET forms approach. Yet, for some reason, WPF hasn't been embraced by a very high percentage of developers. It's hard to say why that is, but perhaps that will change with Visual Studio 2010, especially considering that much of Visual Studio itself has been redesigned using WPF.

WPF is now considered to be Version 4 (apparently to match the version numbers of everything else here), and with it comes a few new controls, including Calendar, DataGrid, DatePicker and WebBrowser. There are improvements to maintaining visual state, as well as support for touch input. The text rendering is also greatly improved. Microsoft was hit with a lot of complaints over text rendering early on in both Silverlight and WPF. Initially the company's execs tried to convince us that the new text rendering was somehow better, even though to most of us with normal vision the text was ugly and blurry. They apparently listened and now the text is rendered much better, even allowing you to use ClearType.

And finally, going back to the IDE, the designer has been improved in its XAML support for both WPF and Silverlight. Here is more information on WPF's improvements, as well as the designer's improvements.

Jeff Cogswell is the author of Designing Highly Useable Software (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0782143016) among other books and is the owner/operator of CogsMedia Training and Consulting.Currently Jeff is a senior editor with Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to joining Ziff, he spent about 15 years as a software engineer, working on Windows and Unix systems, mastering C++, PHP, and ASP.NET development. He has written over a dozen books.

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