Microsoft Releases Source Code for Windows Template Library

The company frees the code under the open-source Common Public License and posts it on SourceForge, saying the move will make WTL no longer just something its users consume "but rather something they can pick up and modify."

Microsoft on Tuesday night released the source code for its Windows Template Library under the open-source Common Public License and posted it on SourceForge, the open-source code repository.

The Windows Template Library (WTL) is a library for developing Windows applications and user interface components. It also extends the Active Template Library (ATL) and provides a set of classes for controls, dialogs, frame windows, GDI objects and more.

The ATL is a set of template classes developed by Microsoft Corp. to aid in the development of ActiveX controls and Component Object Model (COM) objects. Theyre template-based C++ classes that simplify the programming of COM objects.

The COM support in Visual C++ allows developers to easily create a variety of COM objects, Automation servers and ActiveX controls.

This is the second time in as many months that Microsoft has released source code under the Common Public License, which was developed by IBM and is an evolution of the IBM Public License (IPL). The CPL was approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) in May 2001. The Eclipse open-source development-tool framework is licensed under CPL.

Last month, Microsoft made available on SourceForge an internally developed product called the Windows Installer XML (WiX).

Jason Matusow, manager of Microsofts shared-source initiative, told eWEEK in an interview Wednesday that the company expects advanced C++ programmers to be most interested in using the WTL code, which can be found here.

The WTL is essentially a lightweight windowing C++ template library that allows developers to build simple Windows graphical user interfaces on applications.

Visual C++ developers have used WTL to develop a wide variety of applications requiring a front-end Graphical User Interface (GUI). Applications using WTL have been developed for desktop Windows as well as for Windows CE and have ranged from basic utilities to commercial consumer applications, to vertical commercial applications.

Next Page: The last release of WTL had more than 90,000 downloads.