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Update MFC Version 6.0 GUI with VS2010

Posted on 2011-03-14
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I have various applications written in VS C++ version 6.0.  I am finally making the leap and just bought VS2010!   One thing I'd like to do is to update all or some of my GUI and take advantage of some new things, and maybe adopt a "Windows 7 look" or an "Office 2007 look".  Just listened to some microsoft audio podcast in which it was stated: "just recompile to get the Vista look" --- but, I have converted and rebuilt a couple of my Apps in VS2010, and the look does not change at all.  So..... who can give me pointers on what the possibilities truly are, and how to get it to happen?  I know its a bit of a broad question....
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Question by:tullhead
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by:DeepuAbrahamK
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JimBeveridge earned 250 total points
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I went through this when I switched to VS2005 a few years back, so I was asking exactly the same questions you are asking now.

By recompiling with the new version of MFC, youe app will automatically pick up the new common dialogs, such as the File/Open dialog. Your app will register properly with the Restart Manager in Windows 7, and your app will automatically take advantage of Pick Lists in Windows 7 if you have a Doc/View architecture.

If you want to get a more modern app, one of the basic things you'll need to do is update your toolbars with icons that use 32-bit color. Unlike VC6, the toolbar code in VS2010 can support this.

Visual Studio 2008/2010 also offer the "Feature Pack", which bundles a new look and feel. I think that this is what you are really looking for. Create a new C++ app using the Project Wizard and you'll see a lot of new choices for the UI, including the Office look and feel, the Visual Studio look and feel, and many other more subtle choices. Integrating these is a non-trivial amount of work - you basically need to generate a "standard" app, then recreate the same app with the same class names with the newer UI. Compare the files, then apply those changes to your apps. It's non-trivial and is at least several days of work.

Finally, if you want to go whole hog with the Fluent interface (the ribbon, as mentioned by DeepuAbrahamK), then you'll have to rewrite your toolbar handling. However, think long and hard before you do this. Designing a proper ribbon interface requires a *lot* of usability analysis to get it right. If you get it wrong, then your app becomes a real frustration to use. In addition, you'll have a lot of unhappy users who just "liked it the way it was."

Good luck.
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by:tullhead
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JimBeveridge -- Thanks for the information.  Can you explain a bit, what is the "Restart Manager in Windows 7" that you mentioned.

So, it sounds like I only get a few things "for free" -- like the common dialogs (e.g. FileOpen).

No way to get "cuter buttons" in one fell swoop?
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by:JimBeveridge
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Restart Manager:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa373524(v=vs.85).aspx

As for cuter buttons, it determines how many custom buttons you have. Certainly any custom buttons will be up to you to update. As for standard buttons (open/save/etc) try generating an app in the wizard and see what shows up that you can use.

Also, Microsoft ships a significant library of images in recent versions of Visual Studio. By default, it can be found in:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\VS2010ImageLibrary\1033

I've used these in several projects.
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by:tullhead
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Thanks!
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