Before I ask a question, I should explain why I'm asking it and what for, to avoid flame, as question is highly flamable.
I'm in software development for 20+ years. I used to work with numerous (over 18) languages, many OSes, frameworks, platforms, etc. Over time I grew tired of learning some "new exciting tool/language/platform/you name it" just to have it disappear year or two later, or got superceeded with something else. I have only one life and don't want to waste it on learning "fashion" things that come and go before you even notice them. Besides, over time I grew to appreciate only two things - performance and "code beauty" (such as readability and maintainability). So, my by far preferred choice is C++. Yes, it is over 40 years old, but I bet it'll stay here for at least same amount of time. STL earned it's way into same league of "yes, we are here forever" (although I'm not big fan of it, but yes, it is well worth learning and sometimes even using it). And, or course, SQL. The new guy on a block is OpenCL, which was fighting with CUDA for quite some time now, and finally started to get into the same status as C++, STL and SQL.
I want to make myself clear - this is my personal choice, and I'm not advocating anybody else to agree with me, I just want to explain the starting point for my question.
I'm undertaking a new project right now with two goals in mind. First one is obvious - if I succeed, I wouldn't need to work for somebody else ever again . Second goal is - if I'll fail, then at least I will learn something new to make me more marketable, as in "able to find a decent and fun job with high pay" . And this is second goal that gives me headache right now.
Major part of the project is "number crunching", so I'm fine with what I already know and have. But minor part of the project involves GUI, and that is where I was hoping to learn something new AND have value of that skill to be retainable for quite some time. I used to work with Delphi/VCL (which I deem as a very, very good attempt at being perfect framework), Powerbuilder (well, this was not quite a framework, but it was, well, not too bad, and for displaying large amounts of data it was the fastest thing I ever saw), and last few years I worked extensively with MFC/ATL (which I deem as ugliest thing ever invented), and some other libs/frameworks that are not even worth mentioning.
So, I set myself on a search for a new GUI framework that "is here to stay". I code 99.99% of time for Windows, so I didn't care for other platforms. And, yes, I use MSVS - sorry, I like it the most. Call it personal preference, but I'd like to stick with it.
First, I checked Borland's (now Embarcadero) C++ Builder. Took them off the list - can't use VCL in MSVS, and they don't even have 64-bit compiler (which is an absolute must these days). Then, I checked Qt. Oh, I wanted to try it for some time by now, and believe me, I spent a week reading, reading and reading about Qt 5, trying to convince myself to go this route - after all, they've been around long enough and very successful. But sorry, looks like I have to take this framework off the list also. And the reason is - they made a move that indicates beginning of the end of the Qt. You probably heard it: QML. Jeeze, I seen a zillion attempts of big corporations to introduce language/tool/methodology to "simplify" programming or design, so they can hire low-paid people off the street with no skills, and have them produce programs using this new thing. All of those attempts failed, and failed miserably. And the reason is well versed in this quote: "make a tool that even a fool can use, and only a fool would use it". Well, whatever the reason is under the choice Qt devs made, it takes Qt off the future desktop development. Yes, they will stay in for probaly another 5-10 years, but starting this summer (with inroduction of QtQuick 2) this is a dying framework (from C++ point of view).
Then I saw Ultimate++. Looks excellent, nice, neat and fast code, been here for 11 years, stable enough. Two problems: first, I can't use MSVS with them. Second: well, with all due respect, just how many U++ jobs are out there? Yes, zero.
So, am I stuck with MFC/ATL/WTL? Or can someone recommend a framework/library that "is here to stay" and have a "hire-able" value? I really want to find something, as MFC causes a PITA every time I have to use it.
P.S. Yes, I'm aware of WPF and WinForms, but no, with managed C++ they are not worth it.
recommend a framework/library that "is here to stay" and have a "hire-able" value?
You are asking people to foretell the future. How can we know what may be in vogue next month or next year, or what experience employers will be looking for? My best advice would be to get away from C++ and look at WPF, HTML 5 etc; but then, what do I know?
One of these days I'm going to think of a really clever signature.
Well, you are right to some extent - nobody can foresee a future. For example, if someone asked me same question six months ago, I'd say - go Qt. And then they blew up. On another hand, it's year 2012, and it amazes me that these is still no widespread good, "industry standard" C++ GUI framework. Or at least I don't know about the one.
MFC/ATL is "industry standard" (on windows), but it is by no means "good". Qt was meeting these requirements for quite some time, but not anymore. So I'm kind of clueless at this moment.
As for HTML5, for example - I can code it; I also know Java, C# and many other things. Yes, they are in demand, but, as I tried to explain, I can't make myself to have fun with them - not after you get with C++. Yes, for someone struggling to find at least some job I might look nitpicking and arrogant, but as long as I have choice, I'd like to stick to something that gives me sense of inner satisfaction and joy. Language-wise, it happend to be C++, so I'll try to ignore other things for as long as I can
How do you define "good"? Lots of people use either one of these and are quite happy with them; others use WinForms in C# or VB.NET, still others use WPF.
Well, personally (and others have other views, I'm sure) I deem framework "good" when I: 1) don't need documentation to use it, i.e. it is self-explanatory, and usage is obvious with no hidden surprises. If you need to read hundred doc pages before writing "HelloWorld", it is not good; 2) spend my time using framework, instead of fighting with it, trying to overcome shortcomings/bad design; 3) can use it the way I'd see feasible, and not the "only" way authors force you to go. For example, MFC is bound to Doc/View paradigm. As soon as you even think to try to go other way, you are penalized. I mean, it is still doable, but with much more efforts than it could be and should be.
As for WinForms or WPF - they are very good if you use C# (or other .Net lang). If I'd go with C#, I'd jump on winForms, and there would be no question. Question is about C++ framework...
For example, I'd say that Win32++ is close to ideal, with two exceptions. First one is minor - author uses same names as MFC, so you can't mix'n'match those two, but this is really minor. But second exception is very big, and is very same as U++ problem - who uses it? Very, very few people, so even though I like this one, it is of no use for my goal.
When I programmed in C++, I never felt comfortable with creating a GUI. What about being a little schizophrenic: stay with C++ for most programming purposes, and use Managed C++ (Windows Forms) for the GUI?
Well, I tried to explain my goals. For the needs of the project I can use anything available - Qt, Win32++, or even straight Win API - it'll all work out fine, as GUI that I need it very minor. But the goal is not just use some framework to create GUI, but learn it for good and then use in extensively on my next job(s), and not jumping on a new framework every (half)year. I'm already at the age when job should also bring fun, not just money. And Managed C++ is by no means "fun" - whoever designed it was really, really sick, and probably inspired by Brainf.ck language Basically, there is no beauty of C++ left in it, only "Managed" horror
Kosta Cherry wrote: And Managed C++ is by no means "fun"
Depends on your definition of fun. MC is obsolete btw, have you tried C++/CLI? I find C++/CLI very enjoyable with the added satisfaction that I can mix native c++ code like no other managed environment would let me do. For a good amount of time, I struggled to find a decent standardized c++ framework for web applications and even though there were some I didnt like any (just like you) and finally the idea of using C++/CLI to utilize the powerfull .NET framework stuck. Its fun for me because with just a few lines of code I get to expose my native c++ functionality as WCF webservices and from the same executable. It is marketable because you get to learn new .NET stuff as well as the intricacies of mixing with native. Mastering WPF, even though with C++/CLI, will be profitable because WPF is going to stay especially with Metro apps coming out in upcoming Windows8 and the possibilities they open up for Windows App Store are huge.
A downside however is that mono still does not support C++/CLI therefore its not portable yet.