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Some “what to get” advice sought pls. Some background. I stopped programming several years ago (retired) although still keep in touch occasionally - I read here quite often. The setup I was using was M'soft's Visual Studio V6 C/C++ and MFC. Last off I installed a newer Visual studio - and that was (I think) one of the first releases when things changed to .NET. Can't say I liked it a lot as I was used to producing standalone.exe's and now requiring users to have this huge .NET framework seem crazy. Also, I installed the "upgrade" (or was it a SP) for that VC .NET package - and there were over 2000 patches!
Anyway, I liked to write programs again - but now just for interests sake in programming. The neat GUI stuff I see (I guess) produced by .NET env is impressive (are S/A .exe's a thing of the past?) {Aside:} I still have a Visual Basic here that builds s/a .exe's.}
Some s/ware products that amaze me are some in the audio field where I see what, I guess, are .bmp images of actual hardware but with active controls on those panels - sliders meters etc I think there is probably much D/COM going on there.
Finally to my questions: Could someone please advise me what software package to get to be able to do some of the things I mention above? As I say it's only for interest sake so if it doesn't come off, no real loss. But I would like to write code again and get some of those super-neat results of those gui's.
Is Visual Studio still worth getting? Which version to go for?
Is MFC still alive - is there a "better way". Should I learn .net?
Is D/COM still impossibly difficult the get to working – and is it still used. I understand/stood some of the theory of it - but even with the wizards of the day, getting working code was tough - is it still so?
If I have any object target (apart from writing the occasional utility for fun), what would be great is to write a VST (Steinberg) - but that is a tall order for me now.
Thank you for any advice on any of my queries and for having the patience to read this. Apols if my questions are plain wacky – I am well out of date with this subject.
Posted 22-Jan-12 4:24am
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Solution 1

"Is Visual Studio still worth getting? Which version to go for?"

Yes! If nothing else, get the 2010 Express edition[^] in the language of your choice (VB, C# or C++) - it's free, and very, very good.

DCOM is not something that would be designed into a .NET app at all - Sockets or WCF have pretty much rplaced it.

.NET is pretty good - it is consistent (unlike MFC) and covers most of the hassle stuff - you just get on with your software instead of faffing with the lower level stuff. It isn't that big as far as users are concerned - Windows 7 includes .NET 3.5, and Vista included .NET 2.0, so it's only if you are developing for XP or .NET 4.0 that it needs to be installed at all. Remember, it is effectively a complete operating system over the top of Windows, so it is going to be a bit bulky. Is it worth learning? Do S/A apps exist any more? Yes, and Yes - it's horses for courses, but the very consistency makes it a bit easier to pick up.
Espen Harlinn 22-Jan-12 11:11am
Stefan_Lang 23-Jan-12 8:13am
+5 for the snide remark at MFC, if nothing else ;)
OriginalGriff 23-Jan-12 8:23am
I suffered with MFC from Version 1! I have a right to make snide comments! :laugh:
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Solution 2

Just a little addition to OriginalGriff answer.

C++ Builder[^] is available as a C++Builder XE2 Starter edition, priced at 199€.

There is also a trial that you can download for free.

Using C++ Builder you can experience many of the benefits available to .Net developers in terms of visual design tools, and still produce standalone executables.

Take the trial for a spin, it might be that you will be happier with this development environment.

Best regards
Espen Harlinn
SAKryukov 22-Jan-12 13:24pm
Good to know, my 5. Strange, I practically did not use C++ Builder but when I did long time ago, Visual Studio looked to me as a ball of mud. Do they compare now?
Espen Harlinn 22-Jan-12 14:10pm
As long as you use .Net for ui development VC++ is pretty good, it's when I want a single executable, usually with an ui that I turn to C++ Builder or Delphi. I think MFC is still "mud" as even the simplest things takes forever to implement compared to C++ Builder. But then I guess MS hired Anders for a reason :)
SAKryukov 22-Jan-12 18:28pm
I totally agree about MFC. My question was more about IDE, C++ compatibility, etc.
Thank you,
Stefan_Lang 23-Jan-12 8:30am
Last time I used Borland C (I don't recall whether it actually had '++' in it's name) was in the early 90s - back in the days when a compiler's documentation consisted of roughly 20kg of books rather than a 20g DVD. I don't recall any nifty features for devloping UIs in there. Then, when I started using Dephi (shortly before the release of V2 in the mid 90s), I was totally flabbergasted at the unprecedented ease of creating an UI as well as an underlying implementation, where MSVC still required pixelwork and considerable effort to bind all the UI components together with the code.

I've recently learned that C++ Builder apparently still uses many of the concepts I've learned to love in Delphi, although of course they're both much more advanced now and adapted to the requirements of C++. I've seen the UI too, and to me it appeared to be at least as powerful and useful as the VS IDE. Where VS appears cleaner and more organized, C++ Builder seemded to have a more thorough linking between related parts of the projects, making it easier to navigate, and possibly also create complex project structures.

Of course, this was just a quick impression I got while advising colleagues about some C++ problem, and I didn't understand half of what they showed me. But it definitiely looked intriguing.
Stefan_Lang 23-Jan-12 8:45am
200€... oooh, I'm tempted! If I just had some more time on my hands...
Espen Harlinn 23-Jan-12 10:18am
There is a free trial for RAD Studio too - that's delphi, Prism, RadPHP and C++ builder rolled into one product - it's worth looking at :)

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