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Sams Teach Yourself Visual C++ 6 in 21 Days, Complete Compiler Edition Paperback – October 14, 1998
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For the majority of C++ programmers, the pace and style of David Chapman's Teach Yourself Visual C++ 6 in 21 Days will make a good deal of sense. The author covers all the essentials of basic Windows and Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) development, and then addresses several new features in Visual C++ 6, all while moving quickly enough for the busy, working programmer.
Chapman's first section introduces the basic Visual C++ 6 tools, like the AppWizard and ClassWizard, and discusses the essentials of building dialog-based applications using basic Windows controls such as static text, edit, button, and list box controls. Further chapters cover mouse and keyboard basics, timers, menus, and fonts. In short, the first week provides a traditional introduction to Windows and MFC programming without the frills.
The second set of tutorials delves into Graphical Device Interface (GDI) graphics programming, always a challenging topic for new MFC programmers. Then the author moves to using ActiveX controls inside your applications (a real strength of Visual C++, enhanced in the new release). The basics of toolbars, saving and restoring files to MFC applications, and an introduction to Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) programming round out this set of chapters.
The last set of exercises will give the MFC developer some new expertise. First, the author looks at the potential of ActiveX Data Objects (ADOs) for database development and how to build reusable libraries in both static and dynamic targets. Advanced material introduces the basics of networking and the TCP/IP protocol and discusses MFC support for working with the Web.
For readers with a little more time, handy appendices discuss additional topics such as printing, the MFC container and helper classes, and the basics of exception handling and debugging. Clearly, the constraints of the 21-day format have not prevented this author from successfully covering many essential topics in today's MFC programming with a good level of detail. --Richard Dragan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
Visual C++ is the programming language of choice for serious programmers. When easier programming languages like Visual Basic just won't get the job done, developers turn to Visual C++. This boxed set includes one of the industry's best-selling tutorial-based books, Sams Teach Yourself Visual C++ 6 in 21 Days, as well as the complete learning edition of Microsoft Visual C++ 6. This combination of book and compiler is a must-have for people looking to learn Visual C++.
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For readers who are writing Windows applications using Visual C++, the author has done a pretty good job of overviewing how to develop with Visual Studio. He begins with the simplest features of Visual Studio, and builds up to more advanced features, to the extent possible in Visual Studio. Some features of Visual Studio are so entrenched at all levels of the package that it is difficult to separate them out, being themselves advanced features, at early stages in the book. This is readily apparent in the author's use of the "WinExec' function instead of the "CreateProcess" function, since the latter is deemed to complicated for the beginning reader. The Class Wizard and AppWizard are brought in early on, no doubt to encourage the reader to become adept at using them as soon as possible. The major goal of the book then is to get the reader to create a Windows application as soon as possible.
Some helpful and useful discussions in the book include: 1. The Q&A section at the end of the chapter, wherein the author attempts to anticipate a typical reader's questions after they have finished the chapter. 2. The review sections at the end of each week, detailing to readers just what they are expected to know before moving on. 3. Binary attribute flags, for memory-senstive applications that need window and control capabilities. 4. The creation of custom dialog windows; the author is very detailed here and he also shows the role of the MFC class library in creating these. 5. ActiveX controls are introduced fairly early, and this is good considering their importance and pervasiveness in current applications. 6. How to make application objects serializable using the CArchive class and Serialize function. Performance and legacy issues with serialization dictate that particular attention be made to this discussion. 7. Database access and updating. Performance issues involved in database access again make this discussion mandatory reading for those who are involved in these kinds of applications, particularly for database applications that are used in a client/server configuration with a database server that is accessed over a wide-area network. The author does not discuss these issues unfortunately, but ADO, which is used to build a database application in the book, has had performance problems in the past. 8. The creation of library modules and dynamic link libraries. For creating software for scientific purposes where classes should be used from one application to another, this discussion is particularly appropriate. The author also spends a small amount of time on how to create test applications to test these modules. In addition, he shows how to convert a regular DLL so that it can be used by applications not created with Visual Studio. The author mentions that in the design of DLLs one must insure that they be "threadsafe". Multithreading in C++ however is not a subject that is usually encountered in a course on C++, so this inclusion may cause difficulty for some readers. This is alleviated somewhat in a later discussion on threads. 9. How to add multitasking to applications. Multithreading again makes its appearance here, but in this case the author spends more time on explaining the origin and need for it. The author details a fun example of multithreading that involves four spinning color wheels. 10. The discussion on creating Internet applications. Although the author does not dicuss performance issues in creating these, he does give some basic background on how actually to program them.
I got through it in twenty-nine days. Not too shabby, considering there are weekends in there and I went through it at work.
This is certainly a worthwhile introduction to the basics of VC++ for those who at least have a surface understanding of the language already (I think the straight C++ review in Appendix A may be a little too abstract for the hardcore newbie). Much of what the basic C++ programmer needs to know in order to create working programs in VC++ is covered with competence. There are a few areas of Windows-specific programming the author could have discussed in greater depth (especially more advanced graphics programming than the usual drawing program), but those faults are common to most books about VC++, and have existed since the first books on the first release of the program.
Very good for those moving over to VC++, especially from command-line-based platforms. *** ½
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