Friday, March 26, 2010

Ugh, it's been a long and unpleasant day! Never the less, I've almost got the MSVC builds sorted to where I want them. Basically why unix builds are shared libraries and windows builds are static libraries, has to do with the respective linkers.

At least on FreeBSD i386, the (GNU) linker doesn't complain about the common and sys modules referencing one another, you could say it has more of a view that the shared lib is a chunk of code and all is fine as long as it all resolves enough in the end. I generally prefer dynamic linking over static, although I have nothing against static libraries internal to a project; when it comes to Windows  however, I'm particularly found of Microsoft's SxS technology.

While the GNU stuff on my laptop is hapy enough to obey, the link tool provided by MSVC however, won't cooperate with that model of behaviour for shared libs (DLLs), only static libraries. Other then the increasingly becoming stuff that belongs together, the common and sys modules were merged into a single 'core' module, and tonight, prepped to better handle compiler specifics as well. Secondary is that, simply put link makes shared libraries a bit more typing then need be. Every other sane OS/Compiler pair I've encountered, has the lovely habit of assuming that you wrote a function in a library, and might want to share it with other programs. Visual C++ on the other hand,  presents several ways of doing it: that all basically amount to telling the linker which things an application may slurp up from it. Basically resorting to writing a ".def" file, or in wrapping up function definitions with a __declspec(export) attributes, and the correct __declspec(export) or __declspec(import) attributes at their declarations.

Microsoft's way of doing things is more flexible, but one might fairly argue that the inverse behavour (e.g. export anything not specially marked) would have been better.

Generally I like MSVC, I think it's better then GCC, if you are willing to put up with the major lack of C99 compliance and lack of stdint.h (I use one written by Paul Hsieh). The main downside is the tools tend to be a bit, eh, stupider then GNU brew, and the best parts of the system are like wise fairly specific to both MSVC and Windows NT. Personally I would enjoy a professional edition of the MS's offerings, because it would net access to their 64-bit C/C++ compiler and much stronger profiling tools, that are simply missing from the express editions.

The sad part, is that Visual Studio is the only software package I have seen Microsoft release in my entire life that, that's worth buying.... lol. Not even their operating systems can say that much, from where I sit.

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