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GUI Programming - Visual Studio 2008 and C++

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Greetings! I consider myself fairly competent when it comes to C++ and I've recently installed Visual Studio 2008. For my work I mainly develop on FPGAs, DSPs, and embedded GPPs so I haven't kept very current with regards to modern Windows programming. I was hoping to use Visual Studio 2008 to do some simple GUI programming. All I really need to do is create simple apps (just a couple dialog boxes?) that I can connect to other devices (via UDP, serial port, etc), and send and receive information. I've normally done this through simple console apps and text based menus, but I want to make things look a bit nicer. However, in when I try to put something together in Visual Studio, I get a bit lost. It's either C#, or C++ .NET, etc. I was hoping there was something a bit more native C++. Back in college I used Borland Builder for C++, and from what I remember (which could be a little hazy), it was pretty simple to make a GUI that talked C++. Is there anything like that now, or am I going to have to dive into the world of .NET? I don't have a lot of time to devote to learning a new language which is my main reason to trying to stick with C++. Any suggestions are welcomed. Thanks!

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If you want to stick with C++ then you have a few options, some of which are the librarys MFC, QT and wxWidgets. Google for those and they might be what you are after.

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Well, you can use C++, but I'd really recommend a slightly more sane language such as C# if you're making a GUI.

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Original post by Sc4Freak
Well, you can use C++, but I'd really recommend a slightly more sane language such as C# if you're making a GUI.


Seconded. You'll be gaining nothing from using C++ and the code is absolutely horrendous, it needs to be seen to be believed.

I would second C#, or VB if you fancy something a little easier going although C# in itself is a great language.

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Maybe it's time to dive into WPF (.NET only) which is very nice. It's so much more fun making GUIs in WPF than it is in anything based on the current aging UI framework.

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Original post by MantearBack in college I used Borland Builder for C++, and from what I remember (which could be a little hazy), it was pretty simple to make a GUI that talked C++. Is there anything like that now, or am I going to have to dive into the world of .NET?

I used C++Builder too. Was nice. There is no such RAD features for native C++ applications in Visual Studio 2008.
But you can make an MFC (native) application easily, because the dialog editor may be enough for you, and if you're skilled enough to really master the C++ language, then it will be pretty straightforward for a tiny app.
If you want to make something bigger with Visual Studio and want a easy and powerful GUI editor, you need .NET (managed), so you need to use either C# or C++/CLI, and I warn you, C++/CLI is really a pain even if you already know C++ (I tend to think it's a different language and not just an extension), and you'd better learn C#, it won't take more time. C++ to C# is straightforward, just read this carefully. Use C++/CLI for managed<->native interop only (if you need it).

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There is no such RAD features for native C++ applications in Visual Studio 2008.


That's not true. My original statement still stands. You can design dialogs in the resource editor and use it from Win32 apps quite nicely. If he doesn't want to spend time learning C#, that's fine; it's his prerogative. Let him use what he wants.

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Hey Mantear...what company do you work for if I might ask. I work on high level synthesis tool that takes in MATLAB and outputs VHDL/Verilog for FPGA's. Anyway...if you know C++ and that's what you want to stick to just go and read up on MFC and/or Qt. It'll get the job more than done. No sense in learning a new language if you are just trying to whip up a quick GUI.

http://www.codeproject.com was a good place for myself and buddy that did a lot of MFC stuff.

I personally prefer Trolltech's Qt...but that's just me.

My 2 cents for what its worth.

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Not quite answering your question, but Borland has recently released a new version of Turbo C++. Like the others, I strongly recommend C# + WinForms or WPF for this stuff, but I though you might be interested in checking out the Borland stuff. I haven't used it, but it claims to be "the only truly Rapid Application Development (RAD) C++ tool for the native Win32 platform."

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