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Microsoft Releases Visual C++ 2008 Feature Pack Beta

Microsoft in January released the Visual C++ 2008 Feature Pack, which extends the VC++ 2008 Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) libraries that shipped with the Visual Studio 2008 IDE.

The Feature Pack provides numerous user interface improvements, as well as support for features documented in the C++ Technical Report 1 (TR1), which specifies proposed additions to the C++ Standard Library in the forthcoming C++0x version of the C++ programming language.

In a blog post, Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division  at Microsoft, wrote: "Using the new MFC library, developers will be able to create applications that feature the 'look and feel' of Microsoft’s most popular products -- including Office, Internet Explorer and Visual Studio. With the TR1 library, developers gain access to a number of important features such as smart pointers, regular expression parsing and new container classes."

Perhaps the most visible UI enhancement is native support for applications that use the dynamic Ribbon UI employed in Microsoft Office 2007. Other look-and-feel improvements including support for customizable toolbars and menus, sophisticated GUI controls and advanced MDI tabs and groups.

The Feature Pack also provides a glimpse at the forthcoming C++0x update, which is currently undergoing review with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The Feature Pack implements TR1 support under Visual C++ 2008.

"TR1 is the first major addition to the standard C++ library," Somasegar wrote in a November blog post. "Our implementation includes a number of important features such as smart pointers, regular expression parsing, new containers (tuple, array, unordered set, etc.), sophisticated random number generators, polymorphic function wrappers, type traits and more."

The feature pack can be downloaded from the MSDN Web site here.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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