Emergency! Emergency!! Is Visual C++ Being Abandoned?

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Emergency! Emergency!! Is Visual C++ Being Abandoned? Dr. GUI,

Enough with .NET and C#! What is Microsoft going to do with Visual C++? Are they dropping it for C# or will it just languish? Thanks for any light you can shed on this matter. It's not fun being in the dark.

Charles Crizer Jr., a bewildered C++ user

Dr. GUI replies:

You don't have to be bewildered or in the dark about Microsoft® Visual C++® any more. The ambulance brought you to the emergency room with lots of time to spare. The light in here is almost too bright, but this lets the good doctor see that Visual C++ is very much alive and kickin'. Be assured that it is not going to go away or disappear; rather, it is only going to get better! So relax: Microsoft isn't abandoning Visual C++, or you.

Microsoft is well aware that Visual C++ is an ideal language for many of the applications that developers write—especially when performance is crucial. Visual C++ has always been the flagship development environment for building native Windows-based applications, and it continues in this role. And it's long been one of Dr. GUI's favorite languages.

Some of the new features to look forward to in Microsoft® Visual C++® .NET's native mode are: new processor support, improved C++ language and library (including STL) standards conformance, link-time code generation, whole program optimization, better inlining heuristics, run-time checks (stack, uninitialized locals, buffer overrun, and so on), improved CString performance, improved MFC/ATL/COM integration, a ton of debugger additions and enhancements, attributed programming, and SO MUCH MORE! (As they say on late-night television.)

For a list of new features that will arrive in the upcoming release, see the document titled "What's New in Visual C++ .NET" in the Microsoft® Visual Studio® .NET Beta 2 Help. (Unfortunately, this document is unavailable on MSDN Online right now, so you'll only be able to access it if you have Beta 2 installed.) There's information on installing the .NET Framework Beta 2 at Microsoft .NET Framework Beta 2.

And you'll find information about installing Visual Studio Beta 2, which includes the .NET Framework Beta 2 as well as Visual C++ Beta 2 for both native and managed code, at Visual Studio .NET Beta 2 Product Overview.

In addition, for future releases, expect Microsoft to deliver enhanced ANSI/ISO conformance features, even better performance, enhanced libraries, more IDE features, and much more exciting stuff to help you work better and more efficiently.

Visual C++ .NET also includes the ability to target the native Windows API and the .NET Framework API by using the Managed Extensions for C++ (.NET Framework code is called "managed" code). And C++ .NET is the only language that allows you to generate both managed and unmanaged (native) code—and even mix them in the same application.

Some C++ programmers will want to do their managed programming in C#—a language similar to C/C++ (and Brand J) that was designed especially for the managed world. But if you really love C++, the good news is that it's the only Microsoft .NET language that you can use to do all of your applications, native or managed. With Visual Studio .NET, you have that choice.