Brian Johnson's Startup Developer Blog


    Halo 2 vs. Half-Life 2


    Well, it's not really like that, but Steve posted that he's tempted to get an Xbox simply to play Halo 2. I'm having similar pains over Half-Life 2. My beautiful wife picked up a copy of Halo 2 for me this morning at Target. On my home PC, I've got a ready to activate copy of Half-Life 2. The problem is, after playing the source beta for Counter-Strike 2, I find that my video card isn't quite up to snuff for the HL2 release. So my conundrum is, do I buy a new video card so that I can play HL2, or do I save myself 250 bucks and just get some of the other great new Xbox games that are coming out this fall? The mind reels...

    Update: I'm going to get a new video card and at get the game.(Eventually) I didn't mean to start a Vi vs. Emacs war, my only point was that I don't have to screw with the console games at all. I can just pop a disk in and play it. The PC is a little tougher, as I want to play wide screen and I want it to run well. I love playing Counter-Strike, so there was never really a question that I would get the software. I'm also looking forward to playing with the source code and maybe building a level or two. :)


    Visual C++ FAQ

    Today we updated the Visual C++ Frequently Asked Questions page. If you have any questions that you want added to the list, go ahead and ask them here and I'll try to get them added to the list.

    Rob on VC IDE Testing

    Rob, one of the Five Testers from VC, has posted a blog entry which looks to become a multi-part piece on on testing the IDE in Visual C++. I think this blog provides some very interesting insights into how testers think about things.
    VC IDE testing (issues and processes) [rob] Since Ron has been entering thoughts and comments on compiler testing, I’d like to add a perspective on IDE testing from VC. I’ll leave it in notation format to encourage discussion of points for which readers would like more clarification.

    Tom Archer on Converting Numeric and String Data


    Tom Archer has a new tip up on that deals with converting numeric and string data via sockets:

    C++ Tip: Receiving & Converting Numeric and String Data via Sockets
    ...when you start sending and receiving numeric data via sockets, you have to be aware of conversion issues in terms of what type of machine is on the other end of the connection. Specifically, you need to know how to convert numeric data from the local machine's format (host order) to the industry standard format for sending sockets data (network order).


    Building Win32 Applications Using Visual C++ 2005 Express


    A number of people have asked about building Win32 applications using the Visual C++ 2005 Express beta. I'll take you through the basic steps here and I'll try to get a more detailed page posted early this week.

    Building Win32 applications with express is a three step process:

    1. Install the Platform SDK
    2. Set the paths for the bin, include, and lib folders.
    3. Add a few options to the linker dependencies in the corewin_express.vsprops file.

    To install the Platform SDK, visit SDK Update and install the core components of the Platform SDK. Once that's accomplished, open the Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition IDE and open the Options dialog box. Navigate to Projects and Solutions and then Visual C++ Directories and add the following to the top of each the appropriate sections:

    Executable Files: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDK\bin
    Include Files:  C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDK\include
    Library Files: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDK\lib

    Once all that is done, you just need to take one more step to make the Win32 template work in express. You need to edit the corewin_express.vsprops file (found in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\VC\VCProjectDefaults) and change the string that reads:



    AdditionalDependencies="kernel32.lib user32.lib gdi32.lib winspool.lib comdlg32.lib advapi32.lib shell32.lib ole32.lib oleaut32.lib uuid.lib odbc32.lib odbccp32.lib"

    At this point you should be able to generate a Win32 application from the New Project dialog box. If you have trouble with this, drop me a note at and I'll see if I can make that clearer. After I test things out a bit, I'll add some instructions for using the DirectX SDK with express.


    Visual C++ 6 Service Pack 6 Available


    A lot of stuff went on while I was away on vacation. Visual Studio 6, Service Pack 6 is now available for download, or you can order it on CD for the price of shipping.

    Service Pack 6
    Microsoft Service Pack 6 for Visual Basic 6.0, Visual C++ 6.0 with Visual SourceSafe 6.0d addresses known issues with Visual Basic 6.0, Visual C++ 6.0 and Visual Source Safe 6.0. This service pack does not contain fixes for Visual InterDev 6.0, Visual FoxPro 6.0, and Visual J++ 6.0, as the mainstream life-cycle for these products has ended.


    Visual C++ Toolkit 2003

    Yesterday we posted the Visual C++ Toolkit 2003. This toolkit includes the full Visual C++ 2003 optimizing compiler. If you're already using Visual Studio .NET 2003, then you don't need to download this toolkit unless you just want to see what this is all about. The information page for the toolkit includes links to 4 articles that are designed to show different features of the compiler and it also includes a small FAQ that describes the toolkit in more detail. Here's a link:

    Visual C++ Toolkit 2003

    I see they picked this up already at ActiveWin. I'll add a headline link to the Visual C++ Developer Center on Monday.

    Herb Sutter: The Free Lunch is Over

    Herb Sutter has written an article discussing processing power limits and how concurrency will be the mechanism that we use to continue to maximize the performance of software in the future. Check it out here:
    The Free Lunch Is Over: A Fundamental Turn Toward Concurrency in Software
    Your free lunch will soon be over. What can you do about it? What are you doing about it?

    The major processor manufacturers and architectures, from Intel and AMD to Sparc and PowerPC, have run out of room with most of their traditional approaches to boosting CPU performance. Instead of driving clock speeds and straight-line instruction throughput ever higher, they are instead turning en masse to hyperthreading and multicore architectures. Both of these features are already available on chips today; in particular, multicore is available on current PowerPC and Sparc IV processors, and is coming in 2005 from Intel and AMD. Indeed, the big theme of the 2004 In-Stat/MDR Fall Processor Forum was multicore devices, as many companies showed new or updated multicore processors. Looking back, it’s not much of a stretch to call 2004 the year of multicore.

    And that puts us at a fundamental turning point in software development, at least for the next few years and for applications targeting general-purpose desktop computers and low-end servers (which happens to account for the vast bulk of the dollar value of software sold today). In this article, I’ll describe the changing face of hardware, why it suddenly does matter to software, and how specifically it matters to you and is going to change the way you will likely be writing software in the future.

    Action for Devs around MS04-028

    Today we released two new security bulletins. MS04-028 is marked critical and there's specific action that Visual Studio users need to take with regards to this bulletin. Developers should read over the bulletin carefully and download and install the patches specific to Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework. Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for September, 2004
    Buffer Overrun in JPEG Processing (GDI+) Could Allow Code Execution (833987)

    A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the processing of JPEG image formats that could allow remote code execution on an affected system.

    Note This vulnerability might require the installation of several security updates. Review the entire column in the Affected Software and Download Locations summary table for the MS04-028 bulletin identifier to verify the updates that you have to install, based on the programs or components that you have installed on your system.

    VS Editor Zoom

    In case you haven't seen this, it's an awesome add-in project that you'll want to try out. I found it via the vs2005news's WebLog. This add-in creates a zoom control toolbar that lets you specify the how much you want to magnify the text in Visual Studio. There's a project for Visual Studio 2003 and one for the 2005 December CTP in the project workspace. Check it out here:
    VS Editor Zoom: Workspace Home
    Just like Words zoom control, adjusting the value of this control will increase or decrease the font size in the Visual Studio Editor.
    To use this add-in, you'll need to build it. If you're not interested in debugging the project, I would unzip the project, then rebuild all. In the Solution Explorer window, right click on the setup project (ZoomAddinSetup) and click Rebuild. You'll find Debug and Release folders in the ZoomAddinSetup folder. Close Visual Studio and run the Setup.exe file in the Release folder. When you open Visual Studio again, look for a little toolbar that contains the control. Drag that onto your toolbar area for easy access.

    This looks like an especially cool add-in for people doing demos. You can work with a normal font and then you can zoom in on just the code you want the audience to see. Very nice. Get more information at the IDE team's Powertoys Page on GDN.
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