History of VC++

Posted on 2001-07-03
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2006-11-17
Recently I read in "VC++ tip of day" that VC++ is developed using VC++ (may be they are talking about using earlier version). Then how come the first version of VC++ was developed?

Is visual basic developed using VC++ or vice versa (I feel it is difficult to develop VC++ in VB)
Question by:prashant_n_mhatre

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ID: 6249909
I feel the VC++ IDE is developed using VC++.
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Accepted Solution

jhance earned 300 total points
ID: 6249934
Certainly the first Microsoft C compiler was NOT developed using itself.  Usually there are two approaches:

1) Other language development.  In the case of the first C from MS, I'm sure it was developed using MASM, Microsoft's MACRO ASSEMBLER.  This, and BASIC (not Visual Basic but interpreted BASIC) were about the only two options early on.  Since it was not possible to use the interpreted BASIC to build standalone COM (before EXE there was only COM, not today's COM though...) program.  So MASM would have been the program of choice.

2) Cross development.  Today, this would be the most common technique.  You take a compiler for a particular machine and modify it to create code for another.  Then you compile that compiler for that other machine using itself.  Very clever, but you have to start with the source code for a working compiler.  The popular GCC program is developed this way.

So I'm sure the first Microsoft C was developed using MASM and after that, they used Microsoft C to develop the next version of Microsoft C and later C++ and finally, VC++.  VC++ is developed using VC++.  They will use the old version to develop the new version until the new version is stable enough to complile itself.  That is also a good test of how stable a compiler is.  If it cannot compile itself, it obviously has a problem....
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Expert Comment

ID: 6249963
C is an unusual language in that C compilers and tools are often written in C, this tradition continued into C++. (There are many public domain libraries and algorithms written in C or C++ for parsing C (or C++), performng pre-pricessing, linking etc etc etc.)  As jhance said, this is either done by uysing an older compiler to write a newer one or by using a working compiler from a different platform that produces code for the new platform, not the platform the compiler runs on.

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