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[icoFolderApps.png] Program files[icoBCB5.png] Borland C++ Builder 5
 Borland C++ Builder 5 (9oct2010)
An effective and ready to use solution to develop rapidly win32 graphic applications in C++ is Borland C++ Builder IDE, with its RAD facilities.

The VCL library, mostly based on object pascal code, wraps gracefully the Windows APIs providing a class hierarchy with a lot of ready to use components, while the included Delphi compiler allows to reuse the tons of code available in the internet.

The drawback of this multilanguage blend is that VCL components do not take advantage of C++ features like automatic memory (all VCL components must be instantiated manually on the heap), although you are allowed to use all C++ features in your own classes or using native C++ libraries (like the STL).

The version 5 is the best for me: although the not so excellent integrated editor, this product is very usable, fast, well documented, and above all most of its bugs are workaroundable.

Along this IDE I highly recommend to install the plugin C++ Compiler Enhancements (bcc32pch), which drastically decrease the compilation time.

Why do I prefer such an old version? The most recent descendants Borland Developer Studio and CodeGear RAD Studio, based on the infamous .net framework, have lower usability, unless you accept to wait seconds for operations that should take an instant, and produce slower and larger executables.

Developing win32 applications I have discovered the following invaluable tools:
  • Subversion and tortoiseSVN: versioning system, maintain a repository of source files
  • winmerge: the best program to compare text files
  • Notepad++: an auxiliary text editor, a mess of advanced functionalities that integrate the poor IDE editor
  • UPX: the legendary Ultimate Packer for eXecutables