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Microsoft improves C++

Microsoft revamps its C++ toolset to make building ActiveX components easier.

Microsoft (MSFT) has revamped its C++ toolset to make building ActiveX components easier.

Visual C++ version 5.0, which will ship next month, includes a series of improvements designed to make developing location independent components--which can function as middleware or run on client or server systems--a less taxing chore, according to Steve Ross, Visual C++ product manager at Microsoft.

Among the new features is native support for COM, the network underpinning of the company's ActiveX component framework. Visual C++ now fully supports COM and allows developers to edit COM properties and methods.

VC++ 5.0 also includes a new class library called the Active Template Library (ATL) for building small, fast components. VC++ 5.0 includes two new Wizards for building components, the ATL Object Wizard and the ATL Application Wizard.

ATL differs from VC++'s existing Microsoft Foundation Class library in that ATL is for building components, while MFC is for building entire applications, Ross said.

The improvements in component development and application performance are also aimed at making Visual C++ a more integral part of the company's Visual Studio integrated development tool package. Visual Studio 97, also set to debut next month, includes Visual Basic 5.0, Visual C++ 5.0, Visual J++ 1.1, Visual FoxPro 5.0, and Visual InterDev 1.0 along with a common installer and Microsoft's Developer Network Library of product documentation.

Pricing for Visual C++ 5.0 will be announced when the tool ships next month, according to Microsoft.

Also today, Microsoft posted to its Web site the Microsoft Software Development Kit for Java version 1.5, an updated release of the company's free Java toolkit. It includes a new version of the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine, which runs on Windows 95 and Windows NT, a Netscape Navigator plug-in version of the virtual machine, additional class libraries, utilities, sample code, and full documentation.