What’s new in Visual C++ 2008 Express for Beta 2 release of Visual Studio 2008


Great news everyone! VS2008 Beta 2 has been just released and you may download it and installed it on your computer. Beta 2 previews two major improvements in VC++ Express for VS2008, about which I am very excited about. This is why I have decided to briefly mention them on my blog.

The first change is that with VC++ Express 2008 Beta 2 you are not asked anymore to download 1 GB Platform SDK in order to build Windows applications that use Win32 API. Once you download VC++ Express, it is going to installs a complete set of Windows headers and libraries from Windows Vista SDK. They are installed by default during the second step after installation of .Net Framework 3.5. This is the same set of headers and libraries that all other versions of Visual Studio install on your hard drive.  In addition, VC++ IDE has all standard wizards for creating Windows applications, DLLs and static libraries.  We are also able to keep download size of VC++ Express for 2008 small, actually even smaller that size of VC++ Express for VS2005. The trick is that documentation and samples are now part of separate package and we used the space for including Windows SDK. Isn’t it a great change?

The second change is not as big as the first one but it is still helpful to you. You may now package your applications together with DLLs and manifests for CRT library within your application local folder. No need to build MSI out of MSMs using WiX or download and install 3MB of VCRedist.EXE. Just copy a corresponding folder with CRT library from \vc\redist folder into your application local folder and you can now run your application on another computer.  VC++ 2005 Express does not install CRT DLLs into \vc\redist folder and you had to either follow steps describe in this post on my blog or download and install VCRedist.EXE. Copying folder into one folder from vc\redist to your application folder is much easier than either building MSI with WiX or searching on the web, downloading and installing VCRedist.EXE. Yet another fix to what is a big problem to VC++ 2005 Express.

Now you may have some questions on your mind. And I will try to predict what those are and made an attempt to answer them in this post also. The first question may be on whether one should expect ATL and MFC be included with VC++ Express in the future. At this moment, I can only say that I am aware of discussions about this change. However I am not aware of any concrete plans for this change and surely nothing changes for VS2008. Another question may be about plans for including VCRedist.EXE into VC++ Express. For this I can say that the plan is to keep page from which VCREdist.EXE can be downloaded rather including into VC++ Express install. If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave it in comments or send me email. Otherwise stay tuned and check VC Blog for any other announcements of future changes in VC++. For now, go ahead and download VC++ 2008 Express Beta2 or other versions of VS2008 Beta 2  and try it out.


Comments (9)

  1. macbirdie says:

    It would be really great to have ATL in Express editions so we could be able to use WTL. At least let us use ATL 3, it would be enough for many cases. Currently we have to install old Windows SDK and extract ATL 3 from there to be able to compile WTL projects.

    Including SDK headers and libs in the installation is a great idea though! Keep it up!

  2. Nikola Dudar says:

    I totally agree with you on ATL. As a matter fact I have been discussing this with WTL owners 2-3 weeks ago. We may need to address this in close future and perhaps ship a plugin to VC++ Express with either ATL or MFC and ATL together. However it is not going to be ATL 3, but rather the latest version of ATL.


  3. orcmid says:

    Nice one!  I am going to enjoy using this one with novices much more than the convoluted approach that VC++ 2005 Express Edition requires.

  4. Tanveer Badar says:

    Any changes to the core language? Any bug fixes to the compiler? I would love to know about those.

  5. Nikola Dudar says:

    Yes, there many bug fixes in the compiler and there are several new features in the compiler and the linker. Big changes are summarized in “What’s new” section of documentation. Once you download any version of Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2, you can also download and install documentation with it. Then check “What’s new in Visual C++ 2008” section under “Visual C++: Getting Started”.


  6. VS2008 Beta 2 is available for download. Beta 2 previews major improvements in VC++ Express for VS2008

  7. Harry says:

    After the Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 Compiler, which is

    nearly 10 years old (and I use this today and every

    day !),  my biggest hope is that the Version 2008

    supports again the Win32-API in the MSDN-knowledge-base.

    Good Luck !


  8. Jithin says:

    Its quite sometime after the release of Visual Express Edition for VC++, at advancements on ATL with Express Edition?? as i am very much looking on to this addition.

  9. Ben says:

    That’s why the WTL group should have developed their classes ontop the API and not the ATL, it’s a shame that theres no good c++ framework that directly works directly with the win32 api.

    Some attempts have been made but there seems to be a very low motivation to continue it’s development.

    But I think this release of VC2008 EX, it’s quite nice, I managed to get wxWidgets working and several other things work really good too.

    MS offers a nice and intresting free (gratis) IDE anyone should try it.

    Again the strongnest of ECLIPSE and NETBEANS it’s kiking MS door and pushing the release of full even more feature complete product just for free.

Skip to main content