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Posted 22 Aug 2000
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Lon Fisher on .NET - 23 August 2000

, 22 Aug 2000
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Lon Fisher answers your questions on .NET

Welcome to the second interview in our series on .NET. Lon Fisher has been working at Microsoft for over 9 years and is currently working with the Visual C++ team, and has also worked on MFC, OLE Controls, ATL, and Visual C++ database support.

What is the future of MFC under .NET, and more broadly, what is the future of C++ given the emphasis on C#? Also: Is Microsoft actively working on increasing compliance with the C++ standard? And will VC++7 include an updated version of the STL?

I’ll tackle both ATL & MFC at the same time. ATL & MFC remain viable options for developers who want to write unmanaged code, and we’re still actively enhancing the libraries. Two big things we’re doing for the next version are making ATL interoperate with MFC better and also creating a new technology, ATL Server, which gets developers to the .NET platform while being able to leverage their existing ATL/MFC code. We will not update MFC/ATL to become managed (the .NET Framework already does a great job in that space).

C++ will continue to be developed along side of C#. We want developers to have a choice of language and development environment, and C++ is still the language used to develop most Microsoft products. C++ will still be the language of choice for developers who require the maximum flexibility and control over their code. Having said that, we expect the productivity of C# and the .NET framework to be very appealing to many C++ developers, and we’ll always be working hard to make sure that the .NET framework is more than fast enough for most applications that you’ll need to write. Again, it comes down to having the most choices for developers, and enabling them to pick the right tool for the project at hand.

For the STL users out there, we’re working on getting an updated version of STL into VC7.

Our intention is to keep getting closer to the ISO standard with each release. As compliance is important for many of our users. However, given all of the work we’re doing in the next release, I’m not sure we’ll make it all the way to full compliance in this version.

What was the motivation behind the common language runtime?

The Common Language Runtime is part of the .NET framework and it’s better to understand the whole picture. You can find more information on the .NET framework and .NET vision on

We expect to see Internet based web services that developers will leverage to create full featured applications for users. The motivation for building the .NET framework was to enable developers to create those web services and end user applications.

We also want to make sure we can leverage existing code. COM interoperability is a fundamental feature of the .NET framework. A service or application can directly access an existing COM component. The idea is that the .NET framework helps move you forward while being able to use existing code.

If Microsoft wants to maximize the mindshare devoted to it’s new language, what steps will it take to include the general developer community at this early stage? As there are no newsgroups, no widely distributed preview of the compiler, and the minimum of information on MSDN, does the average developer have any way to evaluate the future of this language, or are will we dependant on reviews and screenshots well into next year?

We’ve just begun releasing C# and the .NET runtimes to a larger audience. If you attended PDC (The Professional Developer’s Conference), you came away with a CD set. We’ve also just released the .NET framework SDK PDC Tech preview on The SDK Tech Preview includes the .NET Framework, documentation, samples, and command line compilers for Managed C++, C#, and Visual Basic.

We’ve also created public newsgroups to go along with the SDK release. To access the newsgroups, go to and select the newsgroups link of the page. Microsoft is looking for lots of feedback here so that we can make the best tools for C++ developers.

How much industry participation (outside of Microsoft) has there been in the design of the C# language? How much will there be in the future?

We’ve had input from a number of industry partners during the C# design process. We’re currently working with ECMA to develop an open standard for C#. You can take a look at the ECMA site ( to read more information about how the standards process works

What will be the size of the CLR (for win32, 64 and CE machines) and what will be the redistribution policy?

We’re just at the tech preview stage in the development cycle, so it’s too early to answer these questions definitively. But if you look at the Tech Preview of the .NET SDK that we’ve released on that should help give you an answer.

Will we get MFC70.DLL?

Yes, we are updating the name of MFC42.DLL in the next version.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Chris Maunder
Founder CodeProject
Canada Canada
Chris is the Co-founder, Administrator, Architect, Chief Editor and Shameless Hack who wrote and runs The Code Project. He's been programming since 1988 while pretending to be, in various guises, an astrophysicist, mathematician, physicist, hydrologist, geomorphologist, defence intelligence researcher and then, when all that got a bit rough on the nerves, a web developer. He is a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP both globally and for Canada locally.

His programming experience includes C/C++, C#, SQL, MFC, ASP, ASP.NET, and far, far too much FORTRAN. He has worked on PocketPCs, AIX mainframes, Sun workstations, and a CRAY YMP C90 behemoth but finds notebooks take up less desk space.

He dodges, he weaves, and he never gets enough sleep. He is kind to small animals.

Chris was born and bred in Australia but splits his time between Toronto and Melbourne, depending on the weather. For relaxation he is into road cycling, snowboarding, rock climbing, and storm chasing.

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Comments and Discussions

General.NET redist size Pin
jmw29-Aug-00 11:35
sussjmw29-Aug-00 11:35 
GeneralRe: .NET redist size Pin
Ivan Wootton25-Feb-01 4:33
memberIvan Wootton25-Feb-01 4:33 
GeneralVC 7.0 & WTL Pin
Greg28-Aug-00 4:18
sussGreg28-Aug-00 4:18 
GeneralRe: VC 7.0 & WTL Pin
Frank Colbert28-Aug-00 15:12
sussFrank Colbert28-Aug-00 15:12 
GeneralRe: VC 7.0 & WTL Pin
James White29-Aug-00 6:14
sussJames White29-Aug-00 6:14 
GeneralRe: VC 7.0 & WTL Pin
Tom Archer (CodeGuru)3-Sep-00 4:00
sussTom Archer (CodeGuru)3-Sep-00 4:00 

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