Visual C++ Orcas Feature Specifications online

Visual C++ Orcas Feature Specifications online

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To allow customers to evaluate and plan for our upcoming "Visual Studio Orcas" release (and to highlight exactly what we have accomplished), we are sharing our Orcas Feature Specifications as soon as features make it out the door – either via a Community Technology Preview (CTP) or, in the future, as part of an Orcas Beta. The March CTP was a big milestone for Visual C++ - almost all our Orcas features are now available via this CTP. So now it is your chance to look over our specifications (and, via our CTP, their implementation) and see what we will be delivering. Please go the ‘Feature Specifications for Visual Studio and .NET Framework "Orcas" webpage’ and scrolled down to the Visual C++ section to see just what we have been up to (or look at the other sections to see what everyone else has been doing too!)

Online, you can now get specifications for:

You will need an XPS viewer to read these files, downloadable at:



There are also some channel 9 videos on some of these new features (and other aspects of the work we are currently doing):

There are two more videos in the pipeline too. And you can also find out more about our Orcas features via team member posts on this blog, for example:

Let us know what you think!



Damien Watkins

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  • Is there an XPS Viewer available?

  • Exactly. XPS viewers are available for .Net 3. .Net 3 requires XP and up. I am stuck on Windows 2000 at work. This makes it very difficult to read those documents.

    How about a plain text version? Or an HTML? Or even a PDF? Or heaven forbid, a Word document would still be viewable.

    Personally, I really do like XPS. However, the lack of available viewers is a real letdown.



  • Using XPS at this stage is just simply arrogant, use either html or even pdf (defacto).


  • Can't help but feel that the rate of change is just to fast to be properly assimilated by real world applications. For example we have just launched a new major product using VS6 with MFC and product works fine on all platforms. Another product using VS2005 .net  was a nightmare for support + resistance from users to use a .net application (we stopped calling it .net application which helped!.

    Change the tools yes (more efficiency is great) changing run times is not so good (.net is great from a programmers point of view but bad from an application perspective - but that’s another story).

    Or put it another way change for changes sake  is not always desirable in software, for example Vista creates more user support problems than XP (ask our tech support  people for them Vista is a honorary 4 letter word!).  What was required was an improved XP that looked and felt the same!


  • +1 against XPS. XPS software says it is release candidate and XPS viewer installer fails on my fully patched Windows XP (and no, log does not help).

    Brian is right, "arrogant" is exactly the word.

  • Hey Bob, I agree .net great for programmers, bad for apps. How about using the .net framework sort of like a ODBC driver? Like ODBC you code for the driver, but on first call of the app it gets converted to native on the machine running it, and future calls use the native version? You have platform independence with native code speed.

  • Being one of the supporters of MS in our shop I'm getting close to the end of the rope.  I'm still on W2K and XPS doesn't even install on it.  WTF!  Now tell me honestly if these details were just to complex to put on a simple HTML page or if you are just trying to make sure all of us contribute a little more $ to MS.  I've moved clients to MS for years.  This is just plain and simple arrogance as stated above.

  • Why remove ISAPI support from MFC?  

  • The links to FriendTemplates and STLCLR don't work on my XP Pro (Automatic updated to the hilt) IE7 box. Presumably that means that the specs aren't much good either.

  • Hello

    They both just worked for me - first question do you have a XPS reader installed?



    Visual C++

  • Hello

    So the distribution format is a hard decision (and for conformity the format used is shared across all product groups when they publish their Orcas specifications at Over the course of Orcas we have used HTML then PDF and now XPS – all have pluses and minuses for sure and no one format is clearly the best in all circumstances. I hope the current format is acceptable to the majority without causing too many headaches for others.



    Visual C++

  • Damien,

    I too am stuck on a Windows 2000 system. XPS viewers require Windows XP or later.

    I can view HTML on basically any platform. PDF viewers exist at least back to Windows 95.

    Microsoft needs to provide XPS viewers for older platforms. Until then, how do you expect me to view them?

    I unzipped one of the XPS files (archive). In it are 11 folders and 56 files. I am attempting to read the raw XML, but navigating the structure is not very pleasant.

    If HTML is too difficult, then how about just plain text? As great a format as XPS may be, I can not read it.

    Honestly, how can Microsoft expect user adoption for a format that is limited to only the newest platforms?  The ideal solution, and a win for all, is to provide viewers for more platforms.

  • >>Over the course of Orcas we have used HTML then PDF and now XPS – all have pluses and minuses for sure and no one format is clearly the best in all circumstances.<<

    Do tell, what is such a big minus about PDF that caused you not to use it for these documents?

  • Nothing exciting.  Move alone...

    Seriously, is this all you have to offer for Orcas?  I would consider these features good for a service pack, but for a new major version?  Well, at least fix all those bugs you introduced with VS2005 SP1.

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