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Developing Windows Applications in C++

Introduction

Welcome to Developing Windows Applications in C++. This material is aimed at C++ developers who want to learn how to write Windows applications. It won’t teach you C++, or how to use Windows as an end user. But if you know C++ and Windows already, and want to write applications, you’ve come to the right spot. It’s divided into 6 chapters.

1 - The tools you need

In this chapter you will learn about the Windows SDK and how to get it. Visual Studio will be introduced and the different versions explained. All the demos and samples in this material were developed using Visual Studio 2010 Express, which is available at no charge.

2 - Windows basics

Here you will see how Windows works under the hood. You’ll meet words like “message” and “handle” that are everywhere for Windows programmers. Windows terminology can be different from what you’re used to, so this chapter clarifies a lot of it. You’ll also see the various ways that Windows interacts with your application and provides functionality for you.

3 - A simple Windows application

In this chapter, you’ll meet the simplest-possible Windows application and understand its structure, and how it works. These concepts will recur in every Windows application you write. You’ll also see the starter application that is generated by Visual Studio, and how it differs from the simplest-possible application.

4 - Typical Windows tasks

This chapter starts by transforming the starter application from chapter 3 from a C-style collection of functions into a more object-oriented C++ application. Then it uses Direct2D to paint a simple UI. The sample is further refined by adding reactions to mouse and keyboard events, and then a control is added. You can also see how to show a message box to your users. This gives you all the building blocks for a user interface.

5 - Working with COM

A lot of Windows functionality is provided through COM, the Component Object Model. This chapter focuses on consuming functionality offered by Windows through COM. It covers COM concepts, demonstrates calling the Text-to-Speech capabilities of Windows through COM, and explains many of the coding patterns and conventions you will see in almost every application that uses COM.

6 - Taking the next steps

This chapter calls out nine other Windows-related technologies that might interest you, and provides links to starting points you can use to explore those. With the foundation provided by the first six chapters, you can start to incorporate many other technologies into your own Windows applications.