13 November 2007

Visual Studio 2005 Intellisense Update

Ah, Intellisense, the bane of all C++ developers. I can't tell you how many times my Visual Studio has crawled into a hole and refused to get out or how many times the ncb has been corrupted by some arcane behaviour.

But rather than waiting for Visual Studio 2008 for some improvements the Visual Studio team have been good enough to release an interim patch. You can read about it here.

Hopefully this will make some developer's lives easier. You can download the patch from this link.

12 November 2007


The article du jour on the Internet for any self-respecting nerd is this one. It details the characteristics of computer nerds in a lighthearted and serious way. I guarantee you will see some of yourself in it as you are reading this blog and it is about development and programming (well, it tries to be).

I have a "Cave" but I rarely use it now after getting a Macbook Pro so I can be in the same room as my wife whilst using the computer. The article gets too many things right, although I hope I am more socially adjusted than the article suggests I should be ;)

The website Rands In Repose has plenty of good quality articles from management to interview techniques, so it is also worth going through his archive if that interests you.

11 November 2007

Official News On The MFC Update

http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifObviously I have been posting recently about the new native code and MFC updates that will be appearing in Visual Studio 2008. There is now some official news on the Visual C++ Team Blog.

You can see the posts here:
* Announcing a major MFC update plus TR1 support
* Channel 9: Pat Brenner – Overview of new MFC update
* Hola from Barcelona…and welcome to a major MFC update!
* Quick Tour Of New MFC Functionality

In the new year the native code improvements will be in beta and it will all be released in a service pack early next year. It'll be interesting to see what the code available will actually be like.

Anyway, now I'll be aiming for a change of subject...

09 November 2007

GUI Toolkits - MFC v9 - Visual Studio 2008 - Yet Another Update

Well, as it turns out the new features for MFC in Visual Studio 2008 are actually a license of the BCGSoft interface toolkits. I guess this might be similar to the deal with Dinkumware for the STL implementation that Microsoft license a version of and then bolt their own things into. Obviously it is not as good as having the actual implementation used by Microsoft in their modern products (Office 2007) but it is a start.

There is a thread on Codejock here explaining some of the history. I do agree with them that Codejock has looked better than BCGSoft when I evaluated them, but I suppose the tools that are free will always win out. Also it explains the lack of ribbon designer integration, although it is amazing MS don't have a pluggable back-end for the forms and ribbon designer.

08 November 2007

Developer Tools

This morning I went to the Joel On Software Fogbugz 6.0 talk that was hosted in Cambridge. It was an interesting presentation on the new features and capabilities of Fogbugz with some nice little anecdotes dropped in for good measure. Most of the time was spent on the new Evidence Based Scheduling feature which is quite nice and will help with estimation accuracy., taking some of the uncertainty away from that aspect of the development process.

Fogbugz makes a good thanks to the AJAX interface, although I won't say it looks awesome with the default skin. The AJAX features certainly makes the user interface have less friction for use and has some nice touches to minimise clicking and the such. It would probably make even more sense as one of the Adobe AIR type apps to make it integrate into the desktop or something along those lines with gadgets.

The thing that was lacking for me unless I am really weak with my Google searching is bug relationships. You can create links to other bugs and they are listed in the bug report, but in systems like Bugzilla you can have a rich relationship. This means you can create dependency graphs and define the types of relationships.

I'm afraid I would not recommend spending money on it for my situation. It is a tool that works best for developers and in the development situation, and not a company-wide tool (unfortunately, although it could theoretically work), but I am all for making developers lives easier. It is just I feel that if you have a technically adept development team then they will be capable of accomplishing the same goals with other tools. This is especially necessary as most development teams can never get financial approval for new or better tools (unfortunately it is still what I hear from most people since most developers have given up asking).

I suppose what I am getting round to saying is that if you are using Subversion or a supported version control system, you should try out Trac. The integration between source control, wiki (documents), issues, and more are excellent (and it looks good). It is a developer's tool though rather than a forward facing tool for customers, but it will improve the development team's workflow. It can do more or less everything Fogbugz can do with the default install plus the whole host of Trac Hacks. I've blogged about this tool before.

I must admit I am a big fan of Bugzilla because the bug reporting system is so rich and configurable. If it had the Subversion and plug-ins equivalent to Trac then it would be amazing. As things stand though Trac does work a treat, hell even open-source projects are using Trac to host their websites like OpenSceneGraph.

GUI Toolkits - MFC v9 - Visual Studio 2008 - An Update

I blogged a while back about the secret MFC features for VS2008 (MFC v9) here. The information was going to appear at Microsoft Technet Europe 2007in a talk by Ale Contenti.

Well, I think the talk must have now happened as there are a few posts out here on the Internet about it.

You can read one here and another translated here.

It amounts to lots of good stuff for native C++ developers on Windows:
* Docking windows
* Tabbed MDI
* Office 2007 theme
* Ribbon interface (no visual designer yet though)
* Lots of new controls
* Skins
* Vista specific enhancements
* And plenty more...

I actually can't wait to get my hands on this and have a play, unfortunately we do have to wait until next month for a release candidate as it will be an add-on. The interesting thing is the visual styles manager which will allow switching visual styles at runtime.

Apparently there will be a Channel 9 video soon that should appear here.

06 November 2007


As the standard for the next version of C++ gets closer to being finalised, more details are emerging. In October was the Kona meeting for the C++ committee and you can read about it from Herb Sutter on this post.

Lots of good stuff has been voted in like nullptr, explicit conversion operators, atomic types, and a threading library. It's certainly a slow process but the improvements should all be pretty good, although not everyone is a fan of C++, but hey, I like it.

05 November 2007

wxWidgets 3.0 In The New Year

wxWidgets 3.0 will be released in 2008. You can read some details here.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your viewpoint) this new major release will not be the radical rethink that has been mooted for the past couple of years. The major feature will be the full integration of unicode which would be the only build type (as there was also an ANSI configuration). This means that ANSI would get converted into unicode internally. This new version will also require minimal changes to existing code to get it to compile. I suppose people already working in unicode could potentially have no more upheaval than a point release.

This means all the plans which suggested the radical rethink for v3 have been moved under wxTNG on the wiki. Certainly noone ever agreed on direction for this and this does mean there will be no compatibility issues. Hopefully this means a gradual move to newer ideas rather than the complete redesign, which would be more likely to reap some results (eg, like improving the messaging framework would be one such thing). Another avenue I reckon which would make more sense is to use current wx as a backend for a more experimental API.

Anyway it certainly is an extremely comprehensive framework with a liberal license unlike some other options, also the Python bindings in wxPython are really very good.

Visual Studio 2008 - Out late November 2007

Microsoft have announced Visual Studio 2008 will be released at the end of November 2007. It was announced as part of Microsoft TechEd Europe in Spain.

A lot of the details about MFC and native development are still shrouded in mystery. Some of this I have outlined in a previous post. Hopefully in the next few days some more information will become public.