just in case everyone hasn't heard yet, the Microsoft Visual C++ 2003 Toolkit is now available for *FREE* download.

included in the Toolkit are the core tools that developers need to compile and link C and C++ applications for Windows and the .NET CLR (that would be the Common Language Runtime). note, this is the same C/C++ optimizing compiler and linker from Visual Studio .NET 2003 Professional and did i mention that it's free?

also included are the C runtime and C++ standard static-link libraries (including the Standard Template Library) and four new sample projects complete with source code. even if you already have Visual Studio .NET 2003, these samples are new - specially designed to demonstrate enhanced ISO C++ standards support, optimization capabilities, code-security features and the ability to use the .NET Framework library and target the CLR.

documentation is not provided but is available online. similarly, technical support will need to be found online in programming newsgroups and other community forum.

lastly, applications developed with the Visual C++ Toolkit may be redistributed - see the EULA (End User License Agreement) that comes with the Toolkit for complete details.

now go check it out!