The future of C++/CLI

With all the unverified but reasonably believable rumors about the new Windows 8 API (Jupiter) and how it supports managed and native APIs, questions can be raised as to the need or use of C++/CLI as a Windows programming language. Well here are a few reasons why I think C++/CLI won’t go away and will continue to remain a minimally used but very important citizen in the Windows programming language world.

  • Windows 7 and Vista, and possibly XP are not going away anytime soon. Apps that run on those OSes can continue to benefit from the mixed mode capabilities of C++/CLI.
  • Even on Windows 8, assuming the core API offers managed and native versions with full functional parity, there is still the fact that 3rd party code and customer legacy code bases will continue to exist as a nice mix of managed and native libraries. So interop will still be a key requirement in any significant software attempt, and thus C++/CLI as well.
  • The next version of Visual Studio brings back support for intellisense with C++/CLI. I am pretty sure they won’t go that far without solid enough reasons to back the fact that C++/CLI will continue to have a role to play.
  • Large corporate apps may have multiple teams working together, some with managed coding skills, others with C++ skills. C++/CLI can still play a useful role to unify the different code bases for common use.

That said, I do not see C++/CLI being used as a first class managed language. Its solitary purpose would be as an interop bridge.

And does this mean I’ll write an update for my C++/CLI book? Unlikely! Even if there’s new stuff to write about, it won’t be significant enough to bring out a 2nd edition. I’d rather write an article and publish that directly. Faster, simpler, and so much more straightforward.

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4 thoughts on “The future of C++/CLI

  1. Interesting stuff, it’s like we are going around in Circles
    BTW: res C Cli is an anagram of Circles. Or is it ?

  2. Windows Vista is a bad memory that folks are anxious to forget.But I do agree Windows 7 is not going away soon in enterprises. infact we have Mainframes and Cobol still around.

    With Windows RT and promised full fidelity now HTML 5 /Javascript apperaing on par with XAML + C# / VB or XAML + C / C++ in the Metro style apps and the new version of Expression supporting this where the browser is now your surface that platform and developer toolkit is moving a lot faster than before.

    If todays Build conference key note was any indication WIndows 8 is tolling the death bell of traditional Boxy and Menu driven apps .

    The part where he convereted ScottGus original 8 part post on Silverlight and converting that to Metro style UI did impress and wow the Silverlight crowd who was cribbing on “who moved my cheese” with HTML5.

    The emergence and defacto standard that HTML 5 and REST has become does sound one thing “We want interobalability and simplicity”.

    This is definitly an exciting time for us as touch based interfaces mature and proliferate across form factors

  3. Windows Vista is a bad memory that folks are anxious to forget.But I do agree Windows 7 is not going away soon in enterprises. infact we have Mainframes and Cobol still around.

    With Windows RT and promised full fidelity now HTML 5 /Javascript apperaing on par with XAML + C# / VB or XAML + C / C++ in the Metro style apps and the new version of Expression supporting this where the browser is now your surface that platform and developer toolkit is moving a lot faster than before.

    If todays Build conference key note was any indication WIndows 8 is tolling the death bell of traditional Boxy and Menu driven apps .

    The part where he convereted ScottGus original 8 part post on Silverlight and converting that to Metro style UI did impress and wow the Silverlight crowd who was cribbing on “who moved my cheese” with HTML5.

    The emergence and defacto standard that HTML 5 and REST has become does sound one thing “We want interobalability and simplicity”.

    This is definitly an exciting time for us as touch based interfaces mature and proliferate across form factors

  4. Well, never mind what everyone says about C++/CLI, the C++ issue will live forever. It is the basic language that the compilers are written in, This is the Language that Device Drivers are written in, Actually All Code of where the Rubber hits the Road, is written in either “c” or “c++”. (The remainder would have been written in Assembler. CLI is just a much welcomed specification, about a CPP Compiler spitting out ‘Obj’ files that are compattible (at Linker Level) with those created with the MS Basic Compiler.
    We as a Company have decided, that those Intermediate level languages, such as C#, CNet, etc, are Not the way Forward. We will continue to write code in VC/MFC for the forseeable future.

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