REVIEW - Pro Visual C++ 2005 for C# Developers - Featuring C++/CLI


Pro Visual C++ 2005 for C# Developers

Featuring C++/CLI


Dean C. Wills


Apress (2007)




Simon Sebright


August 2007



This appears to be one of 4 books in the Apress Visual C++ 2005 series. It's really about C++/CLI, not C++, i.e. the new context-sensitive keywords, etc. that Microsoft have built into C++ and the compiler/linker to allow you to write for the .Net environment in something that feels a bit like C++.

It's point of view is to explain to C# developers what they can do with C++/CLI and aims to point out subtle as well as major differences.

I found the overall structure of the book rather vague, as he himself says it's not supposed to be a step-by-step guide, but a collection of things he thinks are useful to know. As such, I can't really recommend this book as a reference.

The first part of the book is more technical, covering core language concepts with lots of nice code examples in the two languages, particularly pointing out where the same syntax might mean different things.

In the middle, we have a random digression to cover code for supposed interview questions, for example calculating the optimum choice of letting nearly-unbreakable light bulbs fall from a building. This I felt was rather just showing off, because his answers used no features of C++ of note, and were basically C in disguise.

I was less satisfied with the second, "Advanced" section of the book. It covers generics, templates, and then moves on to nitty gritty C++, including the preprocessor and "Native C++". The latter is woeful, allocating more time to stdlib.h than stl, and with more example code than text. His main stl example uses deque, should be vector in my opinion as the container of default choice. list has a cursory mention, as does auto_ptr, which apparently can help you if you forget to call delete.

I was rather put off in the first place because there is an introductory section not only about the author, but about the technical reviewer, not something I have seen before!

To summarise, an interesting first half if you want to know a bit about how C++/CLI and C# compare (for example C++-style destructors map on to IDispose), but the rest is a red herring. I won't give the book a not recommended status, because there is enough good material in there, though.

Oh, and you can buy the companion eBook for $10 - what a cheek!

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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