I have got a number of emails and comments from some of you recently wanting to know more about the future of Visual C++. 

The Visual C++ team has been looking at what they should in VC++ to ensure that the direction of the product aligns closely with customer needs and market realities.  The team has the following three things top of mind as they think about the direction forward.  

  • C++ customers mostly develop native code applications.  As part of this, you would like to see renewed emphasis on tools for writing native code.
  • While firmly rooted in native code, many of you want to extend your applications to take advantage of managed functionality (especially WPF, WCF and workflow).
  • You are using C++/CLI to bridge between native and managed code.

This team will be significantly increasing support for native development tools.  Central to this work is investigating ways to make C++ developers far more efficient in understanding, updating and validating the quality of large native code bases.  In fact, the team is already working on a front-end rewrite that will allow for a vastly improved IntelliSense experience.  This same work should pave the way for future enhancements such as refactoring and advanced source code analysis.  In addition, the team intends to update the native libraries to simplify the development of rich-client user interfaces and access to underlying Windows platform innovation.  The team will also work to provide “friction-free” interop between native & managed code through enhancements to C++/CLI and IJW.


The Orcas release will begin to reflect this new strategy but large changes – especially to the design time experience – will come with the version beyond that.  The team is currently kicking around a number of native code & interop features planned for Orcas+1, and we are always interested in hearing from customers.  If there are specific things you’d like to see in future versions of Visual C++ please let us know.


You should also check out the Channel 9 video by Bill Dunlap and Steve Teixeira on the future of Visual C++.  In addition, if you want to interact directly with the VC++ team please visit their team blog.