Yesterday’s post on the release of the Visual Studio “Orcas” March CTP triggered a great question from one reader with a large MFC-based application, asking for greater detail on the following new feature:
Easily add the Windows Vista “Look and Feel” to native C++ applications
Developers can use Visual Studio to build ISV applications that exhibit the Windows Vista “look & feel”. A number of the Windows Vista “look & feel” features are available simply by recompiling an MFC application. Deeper integration that requires more coding or design work on the part of the developer is also simplified with Visual Studio’s integrated support for the Windows Vista native APIs.
So here’s the scoop, thanks to Bill Dunlap (a lead Program Manager on the Visual C++ team). If you’re an MFC developer, you’ll get plenty of love from Orcas: when an MFC application is recompiled with Orcas, it will get an automatic facelift when run on Windows Vista. Common dialogs will automatically light up to use the new Windows Vista dialogs, toolbars will follow Windows Vista themes, and window frames and title bars will get the Windows Vista Aero transparency. This instant facelift happens without the need for modifying any code in the recompiled application.
So, when calling the common file dialog from Windows Vista, you’ll get the fancy new dialog. But on older releases, such as Windows 2000, MFC has a fallback mechanism to show the old common file dialog.
In addition, by porting the MFC application to Orcas, you now have access to new controls and styles exposed in Windows Vista. These include command links, split button, network access control, and sys link. Of course, you’ll need to write new code to incorporate these features into your application.