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Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 provides a powerful and flexible development environment for creating Microsoft Windows–based and Microsoft .NET–based applications. It can be used as an integrated development system, or as a set of individual tools. Visual C++ is comprised of these components:
The Visual C++ 2005 compiler tools. The compiler has new features supporting developers that target virtual machine platforms like the Common Language Runtime (CLR). There are now compilers to target x64 and Itanium. The compiler continues to support targeting x86 machines directly, and optimizes performance for both platforms.
The Visual C++ 2005 Libraries. This includes the industry-standard Active Template Library (ATL), the Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) libraries, and standard libraries such as the Standard C++ Library, and the C RunTime Library (CRT), which has been extended to provide security enhanced alternatives to functions known to pose security issues. A new library, the C++ Support Library, is designed to simplify programs that target the CLR.
The Visual C++ 2005 Development Environment. Although the C++ compiler tools and libraries can be used from the command-line, the development environment provides powerful support for project management and configuration (including better support for large projects), source code editing, source code browsing, and debugging tools. This environment also supports IntelliSense, which makes informed, context-sensitive suggestions as code is being authored.
In addition to conventional graphical user-interface applications, Visual C++ enables developers to build Web applications, smart-client Windows-based applications, and solutions for thin-client and smart-client mobile devices. C++ is the world's most popular systems-level language, and Visual C++ gives developers a world-class tool with which to build software.