The product name "Visual C++" misleads some people. They think they've bought a pure visual programming system similar to Microsoft Visual Basic, and for the first few days the illusion persists. However, people soon learn that they must actually read and write C++ code. The Visual C++ wizards save time and improve accuracy, but programmers must understand the code that the wizards generate and, ultimately, the structure of the MFC library and the inner workings of the Windows operating system.
Visual C++, with its sophisticated application framework, is for professional programmers, and so is this book. We assume that you're proficient in the C languageyou can write an if statement without consulting the manual. And we assume that you've been exposed to the C++ languageyou've at least taken a course or read a book, but maybe you haven't written much code. Compare learning C++ to learning the French language. You can study French in school, but you won't be able to speak fluently unless you go to France and start talking to people. Reading this book is like taking your trip to France!
We won't assume, however, that you already know Windows programming. We're sure that proficient C programmers can learn Windows the MFC way. It's more important to know C++ than it is to know the Win32 application programming interface (API). You should, however, know how to run Windows and Windows-based applications.
What if you're already experienced with the Win32 API or with the MFC library? There's something in this book for you too. First you'll get some help making the transition to Win32 programming. Then you'll learn about new features such as Data Access Objects (DAO), ActiveX control container support, and the controls introduced with Windows 95. If you haven't already figured out the Component Object Model (COM), this book presents some important theory that will get you started on understanding ActiveX Controls. You'll also learn about the ATL class library, the new Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 common controls, and OLE/DB database programming. Finally, you'll learn C++ programming for the Internet (including the hot new topic Dynamic HTML). We've even included coverage on how to make your Visual C++ programs work on the new Windows CE operating system.