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C/C++ Building Reference

Visual C++ provides two ways of building a C/C++ program. The easiest (and most common) way is to build within the Visual C++ development environment. The other way is to build from a command prompt using command-line tools. In either case, you can create your source files using the Visual C++ source editor or a third-party editor of your choice.

If your program uses a makefile rather than a .vcproj file, you can still build it in the development environment as an external project.

In This Section

Frequently Asked Questions on Building
Provides links to frequently asked questions when building.
Compiling a C/C++ Program
Describes the compiler, which creates an object file containing machine code, linker directives, sections, external references, and function/data names.
Linking
Describes the linker, which combines code from the object files created by the compiler and from statically linked libraries, resolves the name references, and creates an executable file.
Release Builds
Presents information on why and when you would want to change from a debug build to a release build and also discusses some of the problems you may encounter when changing from a debug to a release build.
Optimizing Your Code
Provides links to topics discussing the mechanisms for optimizing code:
C/C++ Build Tools
Provides the following command-line tools for viewing or manipulating build output:
C/C++ Build Errors
Introduces the build errors section in the table of contents.

Related Sections

C/C++ Preprocessor Reference
Discusses the preprocessor, which prepares source files for the compiler by translating macros, operators, and directives.
Understanding Custom Build Steps and Build Events
Discusses customizing the build process.
Building a C/C++ Program
Provides links to topics describing building your program from the command line or from the integrated development environment of Visual Studio.

Compiler and Linker Options

Setting Compiler Options
Describes setting compiler options in the development environment or on the command line.
Compiler Options
Provides links to topics discussing using compiler options.
Setting Linker Options
Describes setting linker options inside or outside the integrated development environment.
Linker Options
Provides links to topics discussing using linker options.

Additional Build Tools

BSCMAKE Reference
Describes the Microsoft Browse Information Maintenance Utility (BSCMAKE.EXE), which builds a browse information file (.bsc) from .sbr files created during compilation.
LIB Reference
Describes the Microsoft 32-Bit Library Manager (LIB.exe), which creates and manages a library of Common Object File Format (COFF) object files.
EDITBIN Reference
Describes the Microsoft COFF Binary File Editor (EDITBIN.EXE), which modifies 32-bit Common Object File Format (COFF) binary files.
DUMPBIN Reference
Describes the Microsoft COFF Binary File Dumper (DUMPBIN.EXE), which displays information about 32-bit Common Object File Format (COFF) binary files.
NMAKE Reference
Describes the Microsoft Program Maintenance Utility (NMAKE.EXE), which is a 32-bit tool that builds projects based on commands contained in a description file.
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