Windows 8 and C++

Last week Microsoft hosted the //Build/ conference in Anaheim, where we announced the future of Windows software development. There were a lot of exciting announcements, but at the top of my list was Windows 8 embracing C++ as a first class citizen. Not only is C++ one of the many ways to program Windows applications, but it’s core to the Windows runtime (WinRT). WinRT establishes a new application model that is a significant departure from the C-oriented nature of the Win32 model. WinRT adopts key elements of C++. It’s high performance. It’s object-oriented. It’s exception-based.

This has exciting implications for C++ developers. As a developer, you get to reuse all your existing C/C++ libraries. When you need to interface with the Windows runtime, there are a handful of enabling language extensions. The fact that the extensions are built into the language itself means the compiler can do the Right Thing to maximize performance. The other implication is that it’s easy for the thousands of existing C/C++ libraries to be ported to WinRT. It’s a virtuous cycle. You can write in C++, and you can leverage the libraries that other people are writing for WinRT.

For some deeper insight into C++ and Windows 8, be sure to check out Herb Sutter’s talk from //Build/:

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