Developers generally choose the C++ language when applications need to run fast. The solid beta version of Microsoft's Visual C++ 6.0, Enterprise Edition, displays continued improvement in compiler and application performance, with a nice blend of productivity aids, Web support, and database accessibility.
This latest version of Visual C++ puts Microsoft neck and neck with rivals including Inprise's (formerly Borland) C++ Builder, but the race is a close one.
Both Visual C++ 6.0 and C++ Builder 3.0 have enhanced productivity tools, Web support, good debugging capabilities, and improved compiler and execution speeds. But Visual C++ 6.0 reaches beyond C++ Builder 3.0 in the area of data accessibility with its support for OLE DB. This Microsoft API lets developers access relational data, such as an Oracle data store, in addition to non-relational data sources such as e-mail or text files.
C++ Builder includes tools for integrating relational data, but it does not yet include tools for integrating non-relational data sources. However, C++ Builder offers pre-built decision-support components, such as the Decision Cube, that ease the creation of building data-analysis applications.
Visual C++ 6.0 contains a wealth of new features that both experienced and novice developers will appreciate. I found Microsoft's syntactical coding aids (called IntelliSense) very useful at speeding me along when coding.
The addition of IntelliSense in Visual C++ helps complete coding statements on the fly, shows parameter information, and more.
I also liked a feature called "Edit and Continue" that has been added to Visual C++ debugging capabilities. I found it to be a real time-saver while I was debugging some test sales applications, because I could make code changes and not have to rebuild the applications or restart my debugging session.
The newly-added Web integration in the Microsoft Foundation Classes is also a welcome feature. Also, Microsoft has enhanced the Active Type Library in Visual C++ 6.0 so developers can create smaller server-side components or ActiveX controls.
The number of significant new features in Visual C++ 6.0 is really impressive. Visual C++ developers can also use the shared Visual Studio tools, such as the Visual Modeler. Microsoft has also bolstered both compiler and application execution speeds which are key to Visual C++ developers. vVisual C++ 6.0, Enterprise Edition, betaMicrosoft's integrated development environment for C++ boasts impressive improvements in performance, productivity and power tools. In particular, developers should appreciate sturdier database accessibility, additional Web support, and an improved Active Type Library.
Pros: Bolstered compiler and application speed; developer productivity aids; Web support included in Microsoft Foundation Classes; access to relational and non- relational data via Ole DBCons: None notedPlatforms: Windows 9x, Windows NT 4.0 and laterPrice: No pricing available yet.
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