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FREE Visual C++ 2003 Compiler

For some reason, Microsoft chose to release its Visual C++ 2003 compilier. This is the one that is used by Visual Studio .NET 2003.

What does this mean? Well, you won't have to purchase the hefty priced Visual Studio .NET 2003 to build ICE applications.

This is a quote directly from the website:
Microsoft Visual C++ Toolkit 2003

The Microsoft Visual C++ Toolkit 2003 includes the core tools developers need to compile and link C++-based applications for Windows and the .NET Common Language Runtime:

* Microsoft C/C++ Optimizing Compiler and Linker. These are the same compiler and linker that ship with Visual Studio .NET 2003 Professional!
* C Runtime Library and the C++ Standard Library, including the Standard Template Library. These are the same static-link libraries included with Visual Studio.
* Microsoft .NET Framework Common Language Runtime. Visual C++ can optionally build applications that target the Common Language Runtime (CLR).
* Sample code. The toolkit includes four samples designed to showcase the powerful new features of the 2003 version, including new optimization capabilities, features to improve code-security and robustness, enhanced ISO C++ standards support, and the ability to use the .NET Framework library and target the CLR.

Here's a quote of the FAQ:
Visual C++ Toolkit 2003 Q&A

What is the Visual C++ Toolkit 2003?
The Visual C++ Toolkit is a free edition of Microsoft’s professional Visual C++ optimizing compiler and standard libraries--the same optimizing compiler and standard libraries that ship in Visual Studio .NET 2003 Professional!

Are there any restrictions on how I use the Visual C++ Toolkit?
In general, no. You may use the Toolkit to build C++ -based applications, and you may redistribute those applications. Please read the End User License Agreement (EULA), included with the Toolkit, for complete details.

I have Visual Studio or Visual C++. Do I need the Visual C++ Toolkit?
The Visual C++ Toolkit will work fine alongside installed versions of Visual Studio and Visual C++. If you already use Visual Studio .NET 2003, you do not need the Visual C++ Toolkit, unless you want to see the included samples. Everything else included in the Toolkit is included with Visual Studio .NET 2003.

Is there any technical support available for the Visual C++ Toolkit?
No. The Visual C++ Toolkit is a free download and is provided without formal technical support. Documentation for the Visual C++ compiler is available online, and it is recommended that further assistance be obtained by posing questions in online programming newsgroups and community forums.

What does the Visual C++ Toolkit install on my machine?
The Toolkit installs (1) the Visual C++ command-line compiler and linker, and their dependencies, (2) the Visual C++ C Runtime Library and static-link modules, and the Standard C++ Library, including STL, (3) the Microsoft .NET Framework Runtime, including library files necessary for building C++ applications that run on the .NET Common Language Runtime, and (4) four samples demonstrating key features of the Visual C++ compiler and libraries.

What do I do after I’ve downloaded and installed the Visual C++ Toolkit?
Start by familiarizing yourself with the included samples. Learn how Visual C++ can help you write better applications. Learn how Visual C++ can better optimize your applications and make them more robust. Learn how to incorporate advanced ISO C++ template features in your code. Learn how to optionally incorporate the .NET Framework into your applications. Then, build your own C++ programs using the Toolkit. You might decide you want to augment the Toolkit with additional free tools from Microsoft, including the Platform SDK or the .NET Framework SDK. You might also wish to evaluate and upgrade to Visual Studio .NET Professional, which includes many additional tools and features for C++ developers, including a professional debugger and code editor.

Hehe, I almost forgot, here are the links to
Download site

Btw, I haven't tested this yet since I own a copy of Visual Studio .NET 2003.



  • marc
    marc Florida
    Thanks for the info. This is good news indeed.

    I assume this does not include the user interface with the integrated build tools, i.e., you would have to use "make"?