Microsoft Visual Studio C++ Compiler

Microsoft Visual Studio is a good compiler for developing Windows applications. Although Visual Studio presents a ton of choices to the user when first starting out (for instance, there are a lot of different project types), the amount of choice gives a good idea of the overall scope of this tool. This is a truly high-end compiler and it also comes with Microsoft's Visual Studio IDE, which many people swear by.

For Windows programming, there's nothing better than Visual Studio-- it come with a pretty powerful IDE including the basics such as syntax highlighting and code formatting, nice features like keyword completion and the ability to get the type for any variable, and a great debugger. It is expensive, but if you want to program for Windows, it's a good choice.

Getting Visual Studio

  • You can download Visual Studio Community, which has most features a new programmer would need and comes for free.
  • If you download Visual Studio, you should also install Visual Assist, which fill in gaps in Visual Studio for C and C++ devs. You can try it for free from our sponsor.

Visual Studio Tips and Tricks

Visual Studio has an excellent and highly configurable debugger. We have an entire series of articles that covers using Visual Studio effectively:
  • Debugging with Visual Studio, Part 1: Debugging Concepts
  • Debugging with Visual Studio, Part 2: Setting up the IDE
  • Debugging with Visual Studio, Part 3: Using Breakpoints Effectively
  • Debugging with Visual Studio, Part 4: Setting up Code for the Debugger
  • Debugging with Visual Studio, Part 5: Using Trace and Log Messages
  • Debugging with Visual Studio, Part 6: Remote Debugging
  • 5 Awesome Visual Studio Debugger Features
  • avoid stepping into common functions (like operator new or STL containers).