I recently managed to get a cheap copy of Charles Petzold's Progamming Windows, 5th Edition (1998). I haven't really kept up with times all that well. So my question is: is this book, and the Win32 API in general, still relevant and useful?
I'm pretty sure that programs using the Win32 API described in the book are still compatible with modern versions of Windows. But has the API changed much since 1998? Will I get suboptimal performance or miss some important operating system features if I use the API calls described in the book?
The reason for my interest in Win32 API is that I'd like to be able to program with the minimal amount of abstraction layers (such MFC, .NET or the standard C/C++ IO libraries). That way, I get to know what my program really is doing under the hood. I am also involved in some research projects where speed and efficiency are critical, and I suspect I may have to write a very high-performance Windows program in the future. For this purpose, I suppose C and Win32 are still the way to go?