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Windows Programming

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What is the best way to learn windows programming? Is it MFC or something else. I really haven't been able to find anything concrete on the web about different methods, just that there are different methods. What is a good compiler for doing these windows application in? Someone earlier mentioned "Visual C++ Express Edition", but after playing with it I realized it doesn't support MFC. What other ways can I create windows programs? Does anyone know of any good tutorials? Thanks James

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I'd advise staying away from MFC. I've used it a little bit, and it's nothing particularly special. Although it's handy for getting simple applications up and running really fast.

I'd just stick to plain old Win32 functions (E.g. CreateWindowEx, etc.) The MSDN is a good place for reference, but there are better sites around for tutorials (Although I don't know of any offhand).

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Stay away from MFC; it's pretty much dead. You'll want to use either the Widnows API or the .Net Framework, both of which are supported by the Express Editions

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Go to the bookstore, find the Windows programming section, find a book by a guy named Petzold called Programming Windows or something similiar, buy it, study it, do some programming, voila - you're an expert.

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Quote:
Original post by Extrarius
Stay away from MFC; it's pretty much dead. You'll want to use either the Widnows API or the .Net Framework, both of which are supported by the Express Editions


The Windows API is supported after you download and install the Platform SDK. Without that, you just get lots of errors and head scratching.

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if your goal is to learn to make windows apps, why are you using C++?

in the real world these days GUI apps are typically made with .NET and other high level platforms....... do yourself a favor and use .NET w/ WinForms or Java or something if you want to learn app. programming.

PS please dont crap your pants on me, it is true though, id say if you searched on a job site that you would find like a 10:1 ratio of .NET / Java jobs compared to C++ windows apps..... the financial industry alone would go broke if we were stuck writing C++ windows apps [lol]

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Quote:
Original post by Anon Mike
Go to the bookstore, find the Windows programming section, find a book by a guy named Petzold called Programming Windows or something similiar, buy it, study it, do some programming, voila - you're an expert.


Ditto. Well, not complete ditto. Petzold's book won't make you an expert, but it's certainly the place to start for Win32 api programming.

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While I agree with you guys when you say that the MFC are nearly dead (but not dead: VS8 contains a new version of the MFC, and it is still widely used in the software industry, so I guess that MS don't consider the MFC as a dead product), but you have to agree that creating complex application with modern UI using only the Win32 API is a pure nightmare.

Learning Win32 API is one thing. Using it is like programming a game in pure ASM. Awfull, slow, and counter-productive.

No. Contrary to you, I'd suggest Hammonjj to try to use either the MFC or wxWidgets (very similar) if he wants to program in straight C++, or to give a try to .net (using either Managed C++ or C#, with a preference for C#) if don't have to stick to C++.

Regards,

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Petzolds book is good. It is painful writing a large application using just the Win32 API though. If you really want to become an expert using Win32 I'd recommend "Advanced Windows" by Jeff Richter after reading Petzold.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The state of C++ UI toolkits is pretty sad.

MFC - Dying by the hand of Microsoft.

OWL - Dead.

VCL - Future uncertain, Borland trying to sell off their development tools.

Windows Forms - I guess this can be used from "managed C++". Either way, it's stillborn. MS has already announced a replacement in Avalon. Coming soon on a longhorn PC near you.

QT - Expensive, unless you are making GPL software.

None of those toolkits seem worth investing money or effort in at this point. The only "somewhat big" toolkit that doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon is wxWidgets. Even for Windows only programming, it seems to be the best option for C++ development right now, the cross platform status is just a bonus.

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Is there GTK for C++? I've used it a little bit with Python and I think it's not bad :)

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For windows programming, use C#. It's not hard to learn if you know C++.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Huffer
Is there GTK for C++? I've used it a little bit with Python and I think it's not bad :)


Yes, GTK+ can be natively used from C++, as it is a C API. There is also a C++ wrapper: http://www.gtkmm.org/ The bad part about GTI is that GTK uses emulated look and feel on Windows, so it never feels quite right. For Unix it's the way to go though. And if you use wxWidgets on Unix, the main Unix variant of it uses GTK+, and there's also one that uses Motif and one that uses plain X11 for backends.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Cerasti
For windows programming, use C#. It's not hard to learn if you know C++.


I'm quite reluctant to use C# + windows forms at this point. Microsoft has already announced that Windows forms will be deprecated soon in favor of Avalon. If you start anything big with that stuff now, it will be a huge pile of old bit-rot in a couple of years.

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Same here. Avoid MFC if you're new. MFC is a timesaver if you already know the Win32 API fairly well. Otherwise, you will spend most of your time fighting it every step of the way. It forces a lot of things on you, and unless you're already a good Win32 programmer (like Paul Dilascia, who for years now has written the Q&A section for MSDN Magazine on hacking MFC), you won't know how to unforce them.

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