Hey everyone!

I am a fairly new Program Manager for the Visual C++ IDE. I am starting this blog to push exposure of cool features that exist in Visual C++ as well as promote discussion of other areas that I find interesting. These span distributed systems, software engineering and language technologies. The great thing about working on a team like Visual C++ is that, as the tool of choice for so many developers, it continues to have an impact in software development and is at the forefront of high-end computing applications. As my time at Microsoft has been short so far, I hope to grow this blog as I become more knowledgeable.

The Visual C++ team is composed of 6 sub-groups:

  • Compiler front-end: Responsible for the C++ language. Most notably they design the C++/CLI specification.
  • Compiler backend: Responsible for all optimizations and code generation. A lot of these features are used throughout the company.
  • Tools: Linker etc...
  • Libraries: The people who are in charge of the likes of MFC, ATL, STL.NET, etc...
  • Box: The coordinators of our releases, betas, external dependencies.
  • IDE: My team! The overall editor UI is driven by the VS Core team while we focus on C++ IDE features. There are 3 main areas of focus:
    • Design Time: Intellisense & Browsing 
    • Project System: Project properties, build system
    • Debugger: C++ debugger, expression evaluators

The Visual C++ IDE, even more so than its container, the Visual Studio Environment, has been used for years under its many iterations. To this day, there are many developers who swear by Visual C++ 6 while others can't live without the great features that subsequent releases have brought. As we come closer to releasing Whidbey, which will ship with Visual C++ 8, my goal is to illustrate the numerous features that exist in the IDE. Some of these "tips & tricks" will be obvious to some but hopefully many will discover there is much more in this IDE than meets the eye. We have also strived to recreate all the great things in VC6 that may have been lost along the way and I shall also try to point them out.

Before I go any further, I will plug Sara Ford's great blog. She's a tester on the VS Core Team and she is running a great new column called the Visual Studio Editor Tip of the Day. I shall endeavor to link to it whenever possible and I shall focus my posts on IDE features of Visual C++ specifically.

On with the blogging!