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MFC, was [Visual Basic (yes, Basic!), and "VBX" tools

In message Wed, 4 May 94 13:36:38 -0700, [email protected] (Eric Hughes)  writes:
>>  fortuitous decision to incoporate Windows "foundation classes" (a C++
>>  notion, of course) into Visual Basic
> Classes are C++.  Foundation classes are Microsoft Foundation Classes,
> are just a large library that Microsoft wrote which is also included
> in the C++ compiler products.

It is correct that MFC is simply a set of C++ classes, which are included
(and their source) in the Microsoft Visual C++ environments for Windows
and Windows NT. But there are significances to MFC that should be mentioned.
(They are also included in the Samatec [sic] compiler products. Probably
others RSN)

First, MFC (and related parts of MSVC) makes writing Windows applications
orders of magnitude easier than using the old SDK approach. Just as
with the Borland class suite, no one who has used MFC will ever go
back to hand-coding SDK calls, except for the occasional wild hack.

Secondly, and IMHO more importantly, MFC 2.5 makes it easy to write
OLE 2.0 compliant applications. OLE is the foundation of Microsoft's
"component software development" approach (see last month's Byte for a
good overview). OLE is how Microsoft expects folks to hook applications
together in a seemless way. OLE is used currently in Office to make Word,
Excel and Powerpoint interoperate transparently, and its use will grow when
Chicago is released (RSN, I know)

With little work, a programmer should be able to make an OLE server that
allows users to drop Word, Excel, or other documents into an "encryption
server" or write an OLE client that uses the server.

Most of this can also be done with Visual Basic, which is a cool tool.
But Visual C++ is still C, so it makes grabing parts of PGP or PGPTools
and building them into the servers and clients is much more "native"

Thirdly, MFC effectively isolates the programmer from the OS. As a long
time assembly hacker, I wasn't too keen on this. But MFC makes porting
trivial for most Windows and Windows for Workstations (aka NT) apps,
and RSN we are supposed to get MFC for the Macintosh. This will cover
some huge portion of the desktop computing universe. Once you are above
95% of the market, I don't care about arguing the last percent or two.

For those on this list that like to "write code" and speak some C or C++
I strongly recommend looking at Visual C++ and MFC. At $129 for the
"competitive upgrade" it is even pretty cheap.

Please followup off list if you need more info, like recommended
configurations, etc.


Pat Farrell      Grad Student                 [email protected]
Department of Computer Science    George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Public key availble via finger          #include <standard.disclaimer>