The MFC Answer Book: Solutions for Effective Visual C++ Applications

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9780201185379: The MFC Answer Book: Solutions for Effective Visual C++ Applications

"The MFC Answer Book: Solutions for Effective Visual C++ Applications" is written for Windows developers who want to go beyond Wizard-supplied functionality and incorporate more sophisticated and customized user interface features into their applications.

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Review:

Getting the most out of your Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) applications is the goal of Eugène Kain's The MFC Answer Book. Though it does not cover newer Internet Explorer-style enhancements, this title offers some indispensable tips for writing more attractive MFC applications in Visual C++.

The book begins with an excellent tour of the MFC document/view architecture. As the author notes, Visual C++ wizards let you generate simple, functional multiple-document interface (MDI) applications, but you're on your own after that. To remedy this gap, the author shares his expertise for building better MDI applications. He includes how to manage more than one view, as well as how to save and reload files effectively.

The same question-and-answer approach is used for such topics as views, dialog boxes, and property sheets. Standout tips here include how to size and control views, as well as how to change the color and font used for dialog controls. The author also shows you how to create applications that run in full-screen mode, just like in Microsoft Word 97. Toolbars, menus, and printing functions round out the tour.

Throughout this text, Kain provides plenty of short, clear programming examples that show exactly how to solve some of the most perplexing and common problems faced by the working MFC programmer. There's little doubt that The MFC Answer Book can save you hours of experimenting on your own; it can help you create significantly more responsive and appealing MFC programs. --Richard Dragan

From the Inside Flap:

Why Another Book on Microsoft Foundation Classes Programming?

To answer this question, let us look at a typical MFC programming scenario. First, you attend an MFC training session or read some introductory books on MFC programming. You quickly become able to write and customize small tutorial applications. AppWizard and ClassWizard allow you reach an unprecedented level of productivity. Your applications support the multiple document interface (MDI) and have a professional-looking user interface with a floating toolbar, a status bar, printing and print preview, and so on.

You then go back to work and start using MFC to produce great-looking applications. Code flows freely from your keyboard, the wizards work hard at your side, and life looks great under the MFC sun.

One day, you start wondering about how to implement new features that were not explicitly covered in the training session. For example:

Make your application remember the last active document and automatically reopen it. Support multiple kinds of views on the same document and allow the user to explicitly open any kind of view. Add ToolTips to the controls in a form view. Dynamically switch the view displayed in a window to replace it with another kind of view. Implement an expanding dialog box. Embed a property sheet (tabbed dialog box) inside another window, such as a form view, a dialog box, or a mini frame window. Display a progress indicator in a status bar pane. Have a menu pop up when the user clicks a button on a toolbar or in a dialog box. Support headers and footers in your print and print preview. Display a custom Printing . . . dialog box with a progress indicator.

You feel that implementing these features cannot be that difficult: after all, you have already seen them in other Windows applications. But where do you start looking for an answer?

The solution may be as easy as knowing the specific MFC virtual functions that you must override to produce the desired effect or knowing the Windows messages you should trap and handle appropriately. For some features, however, more involved techniques may be needed--even to the point of tracing into MFC's source code to understand just where and how you can act to modify your application's default behavior.

One infuriating fact of life is that the answer to your particular question may be lying around somewhere: buried in some MFC programming book or magazine article, on the Microsoft Developer's Network CD-ROM, in the Microsoft Knowledge Base, in the various threads and mailing lists maintained on the Internet, or even in the online books or samples contained on the Visual C++ CD-ROM. The problem is this: How are you going to locate the most relevant and reliable source of information among all these resources? How are you going to find the solution you need right now?

Introducing The MFC Answer Book

This book is intended to provide ready-to-use techniques that answer the most common real-world questions that typically confront MFC developers. The structure of this book is specifically designed to help you quickly locate the answers youire looking for and integrate the relevant solutions into your own programs.

The FAQ format of this book makes it ideally suited to the needs of the developer looking for a quick answer to a pressing question. At the same time, you will find that many techniques will give you a better understanding of the inner workings of MFC applications and more generally help you improve your MFC programming skills. In particular, the Explanations and Additional Comments sections often delve into the MFC source code or undocumented functions to explain how the techniques discussed work and how they differ from or integrate with MFC's default behavior.

Key Features of This Book

Although most books about Visual C++ and MFC programming answer valid questions about MFC programming and provide useful tips if you read them from cover to cover, most of them are not structured in a way that allows you to quickly find an answer to a given problem. Moreover, even if you find the answer, it is likely to be buried inside a larger discussion and not readily available as a step-by-step technique that you can simply incorporate into your current project to add a required feature.

In contrast, The MFC Answer Book is specifically designed to help MFC developers solve their programming problems in the most efficient way:

This book is organized so that the table of contents will help you to quickly zoom in on the FAQs that answer your questions. I have made every effort to build a convenient and comprehensive index that will direct you to all the pages relating to any keyword or function referenced in this book. Each FAQ is written in a concise way that first gives you the step-by-step answer you need. Explanations and additional comments are deferred to later sections so that they do not get in the way of the solution but are readily available for those who want to go further than the cookbook recipe and wish to understand what goes on under the hood. Each explanation comes with tested and reusable sample code that you can plug into your MFC application in a few minutes to integrate the required functionality immediately. To summarize: The goal of this book is to offer you the shortest way from a problem to the corresponding step-by-step solution that you can integrate immediately into your current project.

Who Should Read This Book

This book is written for all MFC developers who wish to solve their MFC-related problems and at the same time learn advanced MFC techniques that will allow them to add a range of sophisticated features to their applications.

This book assumes a basic proficiency both in the C++ language and in MFC programming as well as a knowledge of how to use the Visual C++ integrated development environment and tools such as AppWizard and ClassWizard. The Visual C++ wizards are discussed only when used in nonstandard ways to achieve a specific result.

To benefit fully from this book, you should already understand the basic MFC concepts presented in the Scribble tutorial described in the Visual C++ documentation: the document/view architecture, message maps, the UPDATE_COMMAND_UI mechanism, dialog data exchange (DDX), and so on. Typically, you will either have followed the Scribble tutorial, attended a training session in MFC programming, or read one of the many introductory books on this topic.

Of course, having a more extensive background in MFC programming will not hurt! Quite to the contrary. Based on feedback from reviewers and colleagues, I know that this book will also appeal to experienced MFC developers, who will find many useful techniques to add to their bag of MFC programming tricks.

Finally, reading this book will allow all MFC developers to improve their understanding of fundamental MFC concepts and sharpen their MFC programming skills.

How To Use This Book

This book focuses on the 32-bit MFC version 4.x for Windows 95 and Windows NT. However, most techniques and concepts discussed here also apply to older versions of MFC. They should also remain valid for future MFC versions, because they rely on core MFC classes and behaviors that are not likely to evolve in a way that breaks existing code.

I tried to write this book so that it will become a flexible tool that you can use as you want to. This means that you can either read this book from cover to cover--I would certainly appreciate it if you do--or use it as a reference to look up only the specific topics that interest you. Most FAQs are cross-referenced to help you locate all the relevant information you might need even if you jump into the middle of the book.

However, before you start hunting for answers to your MFC questions, I suggest that you take a few minutes to read Chapter 0 (Terminology and Conventions) and Chapter 1 (Document/View Architecture Backgrounder) to make sure that we start on the same ground with respect to fundamental document/view architecture concepts.

What Is on the CD-ROM

The companion CD-ROM contains source code and executables for all of the book's sample programs. The folder hierarchy is organized first by chapter number and then by project name. Thus, the AutoSaveDoc project for Chapter 2 is located in the d:\Chap02\AutoSaveDoc folder, where "d:" is your CD-ROM drive's letter.

All the executables are located under their respective chapter folders. For example, all the executable sample programs for Chapter 2 are located in the d:\Chap02 folder. The EkUtil.h and EkUtil.cpp files located at the root of the hierarchy contain the various helper Ek . . . . . . functions and classes that are presented throughout the book.

You can choose to copy the whole folder hierarchy from the CD-ROM to your hard disk, copy only the examples that are of interest to you, or access the files directly from the CD-ROM. If you copy files from the CD-ROM to your hard disk, remember to remove the read-only attribute from the files on your hard disk.

All sample programs have been compil

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