Friday, August 24, 2007

Microsoft maps out Visual C++ future

Microsoft's Visual C++ team has been mapping out the future of the development platform, looking to highlight native and managed code capabilities, a Microsoft executive wrote this week.

"The Visual C++ team has been looking at what they should [feature] in VC++ to ensure that the direction of the product aligns closely with customer needs and market realities," said S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Microsoft developer division, in his blog.

Three things are on the minds of the team: a renewed emphasis on tools for writing native code, extending applications to take advantage of managed functionality and recognition that developers are using C++/CLI (Common Language Infrastructure) to bridge native and managed code. Managed functionality being eyed by the team includes technologies such as Windows Presentation Foundation and Windows Communication Foundation.

"The team will be significantly increasing support for native development tools," Somasegar said. This involves investigating ways to make C++ developers more efficient in understanding, updating and validating the quality of large native code bases, he said. A front-end rewrite is being worked on to improve IntelliSense capabilities.

"This same work should pave the way for future enhancements such as refactoring and advanced source code analysis," said Somasegar.

Native libraries are to be updated to simplify development of rich client user interfaces and access to Windows platform innovation, he said. "Friction-free" interoperability between native and managed code is a goal also.

Microsoft's new Visual C++ strategy will begin to be reflected in the upcoming Visual Studio 2008 development tools platform, which had been codenamed "Orcas" and is due later this year. But most of the changes will occur afterward, said Somasegar.

"The team is currently kicking around a number of native code and interop features planned for Orcas+1, and we are always interested in hearing from customers," Somasegar said.

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