Developing C++ programs for windows platform can be fun, provided that you’re using the right tool. There are plenty of choices available while starting your journey in windows development using C++. The two most worthy tools are Turbo C++ explorer & Microsoft visual C++ express.
Turbo C++ explorer is very easy to start, but later you’ll find trouble adding third party components to it. On the other hand Visual C++ express has no such limitation. There are plenty of third party libraries are being developed since version 2005.
Visual studio express editions are light-weight editions of professional or suite editions. Visual studio express versions are distributed by Microsoft since the release of visual studio products in 2005 as free alternative to professional products. Microsoft designed Visual C++ express especially for students and hobbyists. As per product life cycle strategy 2005 editions will be officially supported up to 2015.The current available version is Visual Express 2008,which was released in the end of 2007.The version which was used & downloaded largely during 2008 by most developers was Visual studio Express 2008.Each new edition is having the release year in it.
Why Express editions are free?
Distribution of programming IDE’s for free allows Microsoft to encourage more programmers to develop for windows. More software, games means user will stick to their operating system. So this way we are paying price for our free IDE.
Why Visual C++ express?
This is the most popular & downloaded edition in comparison to other express editions. This edition was used by many developers & XNA members for game development. This edition became popular as it supports many popular libraries like Ogre3D, Valve’s Source engine, Irrlicht.
You can think of Visual C++ express as alternative to your old DOS based Borland turbo c++ 3.0 edition. Even if there is turbo explorer edition available, you’ll find visual C++ express edition much powerful in terms windows development & third-party library support & help.
Obtaining Visual C++ express
You can get your copy of visual C++ express from msdn site as DVD iso or Web-install. Visual C++ express can be downloaded apart from the Visual Studio edition & installed using DVD iso.Or You can download the Visual Studio express edition DVD iso & install the particular products you wish to use.
1. Game development using XNA/Irrlicht source engines.
2. .Net application development
3. Win32 application development
1. 64bit application compilation not supported
2. MFC, ATL, OpenMP, support isn’t included.
3. No resource editor.
Some of the above mentioned limitations can be easily overcome. If you’ve installed windows SDK then 64 bit application can be built on command line using cross-compiler supplied with SDK. Also there are plenty of freeware resource editors available for VC++ express editions.
If you want to know more about limitations of Visual C++ express & Solutions the you should check out these links:
You can compile your simple C++ console programs with help of VC++ express IDE. Follow the steps below :
Open up the Visual C++ IDE,then click File>New>New project>Win32 Console application.Then Select the name of your choice for the console project,choose proper destination path then click OK.This will open up the Project wizard that select the “Empty Project” option,this will let you add your own source & header files.After finishing the wizard,you can see the solution explorer with your empty project.
Now right-click on source files folder in solution explorer then select new item.This will open up the window that lets you choose between dll,header,source files.select C++ file and click ok.
Now you can see the c++ source file opened up for you,write the code then save the file.When you want to compile the program then right click the source file select>compile. Now when you wish to run the program then Build project,which compiles and runs the projects.
If you’re serious about windows development then you should consider yourself purchasing higher-end commercial editions of Visual Studio like professional or team suite.
New programmers should consider getting any one of these lightweight IDE’s: Eclipse C++, Dev-C++ or Codeblocks.
I hope information above helped. If you’ve any suggestions or feedback regarding this article then please do not hesitate to submit.