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Module States of a Regular DLL Dynamically Linked to MFC

The ability to dynamically link a regular DLL to the MFC DLL allows some configurations which are very complicated. For example, a regular DLL and the executable that uses it can both dynamically link to the MFC DLL and to any extension DLLs.

This configuration poses a problem with regard to MFC's global data — things like the pointer to the current CWinApp object, handle maps, and so on.

Before MFC version 4.0, this global data resided in the MFC DLL itself and was shared by all of the modules in the process. Since each process using a Win32 DLL gets its own copy of the DLL's data, this scheme provided an easy way to track per-process data, and since the AFXDLL model presumed that there would be only one CWinApp object and only one set of handle maps in the process, these items could be tracked in the MFC DLL itself.

But with the ability to dynamically link a regular DLL to the MFC DLL, it is now possible to have two or more CWinApp objects in a process — and also two or more sets of handle maps. How does MFC keep track of which ones it should be using?

The solution is to give each module (application or regular DLL) its own copy of this global state information. Thus, a call to AfxGetApp in the regular DLL returns a pointer to the CWinApp object in the DLL, not the one in the executable. This per-module copy of MFC's global data is known as a "module state" and is described in MFC Tech Note 58.

MFC's common window procedure automatically switches to the correct module state, so you don't need to worry about it in any message handlers implemented in your regular DLL. But when your executable calls into the regular DLL, you do need to explicitly set the current module state to the one for the DLL. To do this, use the AFX_MANAGE_STATE macro in every function exported from the DLL. This is done by adding the following line of code to the beginning of functions exported from the DLL:

AFX_MANAGE_STATE(AfxGetStaticModuleState( ))

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