Microsoft Visual Studio

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This is just some notes about 'using' Microsoft Visual Studio, more particularly Microsoft Visual C/C++. I first started using it in Windows 3.1, 16-bits, circa 1990, but this is now in Windows XP (2001) 32-bits, headed for 64-bits, slowly - see MS timeline, but at my last viewing it did not yet include the new (2007) Windows Vista (64-bits)!

The latest version I am using is Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition. This can be downloaded, free of charge, from - - You will also need to download, and install the latest Platform SDK - - At the time of writing this, 2007.05.20, the latest was Microsoft Platform SDK for Windows Server 2003 R2.

Herein I shall refer to Microsoft Visual C++, copyright 1994-98, as MSVC6, Microsoft Visual C++ .NET, copyright 1998-2002 as MSVC7, Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition as MSVC8.

Screen view of Microsoft Visual C/C++ (MSVC7)
MSVC7 jpeg image
view full size

The above is a 'snapshot' running Microsoft Visual C/C++, MSVC7 ..

Keyboard Interface

Changing from MSVC6 to MSVC7, and perhaps less, MSVC7 to MSVC8, can be daunting. There was a major re-shuffle of the keyboard shortcuts ... One of my 'favorites', F4, now F8, sort of ... well, after a project search, or a compile/link, ... this key went to the next entry, of the Output, or Find Windows, opened the file, and placed the cursor on the line in the source ... so you could do 'massive' quick searches, and F4, now F8, took you to each source page ... very important function ... but hard to get MSVC7 and MSVC8 working the same ... simply, 'learn' the new way ;=))

Build Files

In MSVC6, the 'build' instructions were kept in a 'project' .DSP file, which 'looks' very much like a 'common' make file format ... and you could always 'export' the project to a 'project' .MAK, which does work with 'nmake' ... MSVC7 and MSVC8, use a 'less' readable 'project' .VCPROJ file ... I say 'less' only for those who do not 'read' XML easily ... ;=)) ... additionally, the 'main' file in MSVC6, the 'project' .DSW file, has become a quite 'unusable' 'project' .SLN, full of GUID's ... I still have to find how to 'export' to another format in MSVC7/MSVC8 ...

Thankfully, both MSVC7 and MSVC8, 'read' MSVC6 build files, [DSW | DSP], and 'converts' them to its own format, [SLN | VCPROJ], so the 'older' MSVC6 build files 'work', quite well, in the later versions ... MSVC8 will read, convert and load MSVC7, but MSVC7 will NOT read MSVC8 solution files! This males the lowest common denominator, for portability, the MSVC6 files.

This page will always be
a work in progress ;=))
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As an example of a quite large, open source project, where I use the whole 'solution' concept of  MSVC8, see fgfs-037.htm


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