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Posted 29 Apr 2000


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Introduction to WTL - Part 1

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30 Apr 2001
The 'what' and 'where do I get it' of WTL

What is the Windows Template Library you ask?

Brief history

In the beginning when ATL appeared, developers were happy. We had a way to write fast, small COM components. Well the happiness ended soon after when we found that we had to write code wrappers for any of the window's controls we wanted to use. So MS responded to our plight and gave us WTL, completely unfinished and unsupported (for now).

See WTL Documented for more information.


  • All the power of C++
  • Thin wrappers for the common controls
  • A small but functional Application framework (minus the ever-popular Document-View Architecture)
  • Print and Print Preview support
  • Ports of MFC’s CPoint, CRect, CSize, CString, etc.
  • New Message cracking Macros, conceivably they’re an upgrade of the existing ones.

All this but no documentation! Oh well, we're all professionals and can read code, so for now that will have to suffice.

Where do you get it?

Thanks to Nenad Stefanovic of the WTL development team we now have 2 methods of downloading the WTL source file (Special thanks to Shannon McCoy for pointing this out).

Method 1

Click here to download the WTL source files.

Method 2

Go and get the Platform SDKs.

WTL resides in the Platform SDKs. To find and install WTL you need to download the latest release of the Platform SDKs. In the screen seen below, Expand the Source code tree item and select the Windows Template Library for download.

Image 1

So, you have the SDKs installed, your ready to go... well almost. Don’t forget to add the WTL include path to Developer Studio. To do that in Developer Studio go to Tools | Options and click on the 'Directories' tab. Once you are there simply add the include path to the 'Include files' list.

What’s in the box?

Let’s take a look at the goodies we got. The WTL is setup so that all the code resides in header files; it's setup this way so that we have full control of what is been tacked into your project.

The Headers

File name Description
atlapp.h Message loop, interfaces, general app stuff
atlcrack.h Message cracker macros atlctrls.h Standard and common control classes
atlctrlw.h Command bar class atlctrlx.h Bitmap button, check list view, and other controls
atlddx.h Data exchange for dialogs and windows
atldlgs.h Common dialog classes, property sheet and page classes
atlframe.h Frame window classes, MDI, update UI classes

DC classes, GDI object classes


ATL ports of CPoint, CRect, CSize, CString, etc.


Printing and print preview

atlres.h Standard resource Ids
atlscrl.h Scrollable windows
atlsplit.h Splitter windows
atluser.h Menu class

The Samples

Directory Description

Multithreaded notepad sample


ATL version of the MDI sample


ATL version of the GuidGen sample

The App-Wizard

File Name Description
AtlApp60.Awx ATL/WTL AppWizard

And of course there is a 'readme.txt', which outlines the class hierarchy of the WTL. Sorry, I said there was no documentation, my bad :)

Thats it! You got the WTL and your ready to go.

Ben Burnett


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Ben Burnett
Team Leader Farmer's Edge
Canada Canada
Ben was born in New Zealand and grew up in Mexico; however, he has lived in Canada for most of his adult life. He has traveled to a few places in Canada so far: British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia, but has only ever lived in Alberta — all over Alberta. From Lethbridge to Calgary to Fort McMurray: he has seen most of what the province has to offer. He has also left the comfort of his—at the time—home country and gone abroad. In recent history he has been in China, New Zealand, the US, Central America and back to Canada (where he now resides).

He completed a degree at the University of Lethbridge, in Computer Science; worked for the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Computer Sciences Department as a Systems Programmer for the Condor Research Project[^]; and is currently completing another degree at the University of Lethbridge, once again, in Computer Science.

Ben has been known to enjoy reading, watching movies, playing console games, and learning everything he can about computers. And, more importantly, with regards to his character: does not usually speaks about himself in the third person.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralLatest WTL download Pin
SzeliTom18-Apr-12 10:02
MemberSzeliTom18-Apr-12 10:02 
GeneralRe: Latest WTL download Pin
Ben Burnett18-Apr-12 18:41
MemberBen Burnett18-Apr-12 18:41 
GeneralGood job Pin
kiol18-Feb-08 9:39
Memberkiol18-Feb-08 9:39 
QuestionHow I can use WTL in VC++/ Visual Studio 2005 Pin
nmtdhbk22-Jun-06 16:50
Membernmtdhbk22-Jun-06 16:50 
GeneralBorland c++ Pin
Sean Maxam16-Jan-06 13:42
MemberSean Maxam16-Jan-06 13:42 
GeneralVC6 and appwiz Pin
Beyogus Deywd16-Feb-05 20:00
MemberBeyogus Deywd16-Feb-05 20:00 
GeneralRe: VC6 and appwiz Pin
iamduyu9-May-07 14:14
Memberiamduyu9-May-07 14:14 
QuestionHow to run setup.js Pin
faint_u27-Oct-04 15:41
Memberfaint_u27-Oct-04 15:41 
AnswerRe: How to run setup.js Pin
Pereslegin30-Oct-04 8:04
MemberPereslegin30-Oct-04 8:04 
QuestionCan tell me how install WTL7.0 on MSvc7.1? Pin
Farhawk11-Sep-03 21:41
MemberFarhawk11-Sep-03 21:41 
AnswerRe: Can tell me how install WTL7.0 on MSvc7.1? Pin
faint_u10-Nov-03 19:55
Memberfaint_u10-Nov-03 19:55 
AnswerRe: Can tell me how install WTL7.0 on MSvc7.1? Pin
Kukchin Kim4-Feb-04 19:15
MemberKukchin Kim4-Feb-04 19:15 
QuestionWTL 3.1 or 7.0? Pin
tareqsiraj11-Jul-03 19:23
Membertareqsiraj11-Jul-03 19:23 
AnswerRe: WTL 3.1 or 7.0? Pin
Michael Dunn11-Jul-03 20:09
sitebuilderMichael Dunn11-Jul-03 20:09 
QuestionWhy do we need WTL? Pin
anon1238-Feb-03 14:40
Memberanon1238-Feb-03 14:40 
AnswerRe: Why do we need WTL? Pin
Soliant16-Feb-03 15:06
MemberSoliant16-Feb-03 15:06 
QuestionHow to install WTL in C++ Pin
GOLDEN15-May-02 6:14
MemberGOLDEN15-May-02 6:14 
AnswerRe: How to install WTL in C++ Pin
Ramon Casellas15-May-02 6:22
MemberRamon Casellas15-May-02 6:22 
GeneralRe: How to install WTL in C++ Pin
GOLDEN16-May-02 5:36
MemberGOLDEN16-May-02 5:36 
GeneralRe: How to install WTL in C++ Pin
25-May-02 22:45
suss25-May-02 22:45 
GeneralRe: How to install WTL in C++ Pin
zoom19-Nov-02 22:02
Memberzoom19-Nov-02 22:02 
GeneralRe: How to install WTL in C++ Pin
ideras9-Jul-03 16:04
Memberideras9-Jul-03 16:04 
GeneralRe: How to install WTL in C++ Pin
cc541617-Feb-05 16:33
Membercc541617-Feb-05 16:33 
GeneralRe: How to install WTL in C++ Pin
nmtdhbk22-Jun-06 16:46
Membernmtdhbk22-Jun-06 16:46 
GeneralRe: How to install WTL in C++ Pin
CuBr1-Sep-06 11:41
MemberCuBr1-Sep-06 11:41 

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