Microsoft Foundation Class Library

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Microsoft Foundation Class Library
Developer(s)Microsoft
Initial release1992; 28 years ago (1992)
Stable release
14.22.27821.0 / July 24, 2019[1]
Written inC++
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
LicenseProprietary
Websitedocs.microsoft.com/en-us/cpp/mfc/mfc-desktop-applications

Microsoft Foundation Class Library (MFC) is a C++ object-oriented library for developing desktop applications for Windows.

MFC was introduced by Microsoft in 1992 and quickly gained widespread use. While Microsoft has introduced alternative application frameworks since then, MFC remains widely used.

History[edit]

MFC was introduced in 1992 with Microsoft's C/C++ 7.0 compiler for use with 16-bit versions of Windows as an extremely thin object-oriented C++ wrapper for the Windows API. C++ was just beginning to replace C for development of commercial application software at the time. In an MFC program, direct Windows API calls are rarely needed. Instead, programs create objects from Microsoft Foundation Class classes and call member functions belonging to those objects. Many of those functions share their names with corresponding API functions.[2]

One quirk of MFC is the use of "Afx" as the prefix for many functions, macros and the standard precompiled header name "stdafx.h". During early development, what became MFC was called "Application Framework Extensions" and abbreviated "Afx". The name Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) was adopted too late in the release cycle to change these references.

MFC 8.0 was released with Visual Studio 2005. MFC 9.0 was released with Visual Studio 2008. On April 7, 2008, Microsoft released an update to the MFC classes as an out-of-band update to Visual Studio 2008 and MFC 9.[3] The update features new user interface constructs, including the ribbons and associated UI widgets, fully customizable toolbars, docking panes which can either be freely floated or docked to any side and document tabs.[4]

MFC was initially a feature of the commercial versions of Visual Studio. As such, it is not included in the freeware Visual C++ Express.[5] The Community edition of Visual Studio, introduced in 2014, however, includes MFC.

Object Windows Library (OWL), designed for use with Borland's Turbo C++ compiler, was a competing product introduced by Borland around the same time. Eventually, Borland discontinued OWL development and licensed the distribution of the MFC headers, libraries and DLLs from Microsoft[6] for a short time, though it never offered fully integrated support for MFC. Borland later released Visual Component Library to replace the OWL framework.

Features[edit]

MFC is a library that wraps portions of the Windows API in C++ classes, including functionality that enables them to use a default application framework. Classes are defined for many of the handle-managed Windows objects and also for predefined windows and common controls.

At the time of its introduction, MFC provided C++ macros for Windows message-handling (via Message Maps[7] ), exceptions, run-time type identification (RTTI), serialization and dynamic class instantiation. The macros for message-handling aimed to reduce memory consumption by avoiding gratuitous virtual table use and also to provide a more concrete structure for various Visual C++-supplied tools to edit and manipulate code without parsing the full language. The message-handling macros replaced the virtual function mechanism provided by C++.

The macros for serialization, exceptions, and RTTI predated availability of these features in Microsoft C++ by a number of years. 32-bit versions of MFC, for Windows NT 3.1 and later Windows operating systems, used compilers that implemented the language features and updated the macros to simply wrap the language features instead of providing customized implementations, realizing upward compatibility.

The MFC ribbon resource editor allows the developer to design the ribbon graphically instead of having to use the XML-based declarative markup like the RibbonX API. Optionally, ribbon components may be programmed directly by calling a new set of ribbon class methods. The developer may mix graphical and programmatic ribbon development as is convenient. The MFC application wizard has also been upgraded to support the new features, including a check-box to select whether the application will use the ribbon or the docking panes. The new functionality is provided in new classes so that old applications still continue to run.[4] This update is building on top of BCGSoft’s BCGControlBar Library Professional Edition.[8] Microsoft has imposed additional licensing requirements on users of the ribbons.[9] These include a requirement to adhere to Microsoft UI Design Guidelines, and an anti-competition clause prohibiting the use of the UI in applications which compete with Microsoft Office.

MFC can be used by linking a static library or by adding the MFC DLL.

Versions[edit]

Product Library Version Release date
Name Version
Microsoft C/C++ 7.0 MFC 1.0 1992
Microsoft Visual C++ 1.0 Visual C++ 1.0 MFC 2.0
Visual C++ 1.5 mfc250.dll MFC 2.5
Visual C++ 1.51 mfc250.dll MFC 2.51
Visual C++ 1.52c mfc250.dll MFC 2.5 (Last development platform for Windows 3.x)
Microsoft Visual C++ 2.0 Visual C++ 2.0 mfc30.dll MFC 3.0
Visual C++ 2.1 mfc30.dll MFC 3.1
Visual C++ 2.2 mfc30.dll MFC 3.2
Microsoft Visual C++ 4.0 Visual C++ 4.0 mfc40.dll MFC 4.0 (mfc40.dll included with Windows 95) August 1995
Visual C++ 4.1 mfc40.dll MFC 4.1
Visual C++ 4.2 mfc42.dll MFC 4.2 (mfc42.dll included with the Windows 98 original release) March 1998
eMbedded Visual C++ 3.0 mfc42.dll MFC 4.2
Microsoft Visual C++ 5.0 Visual C++ 5.0 mfc42.dll MFC 4.21, a major upgrade from MFC 4.2.
Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 Visual C++ 6.0 mfc42.dll MFC 6.0 1998
eMbedded Visual C++ 4.0 mfcce400.dll MFC 6.0
Microsoft Visual C++ .NET 2002 Visual C++ .NET 2002 (Visual C++ 7.0) mfc70.dll MFC 7.0 February 2002
Microsoft Visual C++ .NET 2003 Visual C++ .NET 2003 (Visual C++ 7.1) mfc71.dll MFC 7.1 April 2003
Visual C++ .NET 2003 + MS11-025[10] MFC 7.10.6119.0 April 2011
Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Visual C++ 2005 (Visual C++ 8.0) mfc80.dll 8.0.50727.42 October 2005
Visual C++ 2005 SP1 8.0.50727.762 June 2007
Visual C++ 2005 SP1 + MS09-035[11][12] 8.0.50727.4053 July 2009
Visual C++ 2005 SP1 + MS11-025 (KB2467175)[10] 8.0.50727.5592 April 2011
Visual C++ 2005 SP1 + MS11-025 (KB2538242)[10][13] 8.0.50727.6195 (included in redist 8.0.61000/8.0.61001[14]) June 2011
Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Visual C++ 2008 (Visual C++ 9.0) mfc90.dll 9.0.21022.8 November 2007
Visual C++ 2008 with Feature Pack 9.0.30411 April 2008
Visual C++ 2008 SP1 9.0.30729.1 August 2008
Visual C++ 2008 SP1 + MS09-035[11][12] 9.0.30729.4148 July 2009
Visual C++ 2008 SP1 + MS11-025 (KB2467174)[10] 9.0.30729.5570 April 2011
Visual C++ 2008 SP1 + MS11-025 (KB2538243)[10] 9.0.30729.6161 (installer has version 9.0.30729.5677) June 2011
Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Visual C++ 2010 (Visual C++ 10.0) mfc100.dll 10.0.30319.1 April 2010[15]
Visual C++ 2010 + MS11-025[10] 10.0.30319.415 April 2011
Visual C++ 2010 SP1 10.0.40219.1 March 2011
Visual C++ 2010 SP1 + MS11-025[10] 10.0.40219.325 August 2011
Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 Visual C++ 2012 (Visual C++ 11.0) mfc110.dll 11.0.50727.1 July 26, 2012
Visual C++ 2012 Update 1 11.0.51106.1 November 5, 2012
Visual C++ 2012 Update 3 11.0.60610.1 (also included in redist 11.0.61030) June 26, 2013
Microsoft Visual C++ 2013 Visual C++ 2013 (Visual C++ 12.0) mfc120.dll 12.0.21005.1 October 5, 2013
Visual C++ 2013 Update 2 12.0.30501.0 December 30, 2014[16]
Visual C++ 2013 Update 5 + KB3179560 12.0.40660.0 July 8, 2016[17]
Visual C++ 2013 Update 5 + KB4032938 12.0.40664.0 July 18, 2017[18]
Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Visual C++ 2015 (Visual C++ 14.0) mfc140.dll 14.0.23026.0 July 20, 2015
Visual C++ 2015 Update 1 14.0.23506.0 November 30, 2015[19]
Visual C++ 2015 Update 2 14.0.23918.0 March 30, 2016[20]
Visual C++ 2015 Update 3 14.0.24210.0 June 27, 2016[21]
Visual C++ 2015 Update 3 + KB3165756 14.0.24215.0 August 2, 2016[22]
Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Visual C++ 15.0 mfc140.dll 14.10.25008.0 March 7, 2017
Visual C++ 15.2 14.11.25325.0 May 10, 2017
Visual C++ 15.4 14.12.25810.0 October 10, 2017
Visual C++ 15.6 14.13.26020.0 March 6, 2018
Visual C++ 15.7 14.14.26405.0 May 7, 2018
Visual C++ 15.7.3? 14.14.26429.4 May 31, 2018
Visual C++ 15.8 14.15.26706.0 August 14, 2018
Visual C++ 15.9 14.16.27012.6 November 13, 2018
Visual C++ 15.9.5 14.16.27024.1 January 10, 2019
Visual C++ 15.9.6 14.16.27026.1 January 24, 2019
Visual C++ 15.9.9 14.16.27027.1 March 12, 2019
Microsoft Visual C++ 2019 Visual C++ 16.0RC mfc140.dll 14.20.27404.0 February 27, 2019
Visual C++ 16.0RC.3 14.20.27508.1 March 19, 2019
Visual C++ 16.1.0 14.21.27702.2 May 21, 2019
Visual C++ 16.2.0 14.22.27821.0 July 24, 2019
Visual C++ 16.3.0 14.23.27820.0 September 9, 2019
Visual C++ 16.4.0 14.24.28127.4 December 3, 2019
Visual C++ 16.5.0 14.25.28508.3 March 16, 2020
Visual C++ 16.6.0 14.26.28720.3 May 19, 2020
Visual C++ 16.6.3 14.26.28808.1 June 30, 2020
Visual C++ 16.7 14.27.29016.0 August 5, 2020

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Visual Studio 2019 Release Notes". Msdn.microsoft.com. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  2. ^ Visual C++ Express Overview
  3. ^ "Visual C++ 2008 Feature Pack shipped". Blogs.msdn.com. Retrieved April 26, 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Quick Tour of New MFC functionality". Blogs.msdn.com. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  5. ^ "Visual Studio Express Edition FAQ". Microsoft.com. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "Microsoft Buys Into Inprise, Settles Disputes". Techweb.com. Archived from the original on October 17, 2007. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  7. ^ Williams, Mickey; David Bennett. "Creating Your Own Message Maps". Inform IT.
  8. ^ "MFC Update Powered By BCGSoft". Msdn2.microsoft.com. Retrieved November 16, 2007.
  9. ^ "Visual C++ 2008 Feature Pack Release Download Page". Microsoft.com. Retrieved May 16, 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "MS11-025: Vulnerability in Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) Library could allow remote code execution: April 12, 2011". Microsoft.com. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Microsoft Security Bulletin MS09-035 - Moderate: Vulnerabilities in Visual Studio Active Template Library Could Allow Remote Code Execution (969706)". Microsoft.com. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Protect your computer from the Active Template Library (ATL) security vulnerability". Archived from the original on October 26, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  13. ^ "Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 MFC Security Update". Microsoft.com. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  14. ^ "Where can I download Visual C++ Redistributables?". Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  15. ^ "Visual C++ - Exploring New C++ and MFC Features in Visual Studio 2010". Msdn.microsoft.com. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  16. ^ "Visual C++ Redistributable Packages for Visual Studio 2013". Msdn.microsoft.com. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  17. ^ "Update for Visual C++ 2013 and Visual C++ Redistributable Package". Msdn.microsoft.com. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  18. ^ "Update for Visual C++ 2013 Redistributable Package". Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  19. ^ "Visual Studio 2015 Update 1". Msdn.microsoft.com. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  20. ^ "Visual Studio 2015 Update 2". Msdn.microsoft.com. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  21. ^ "Visual Studio 2015 Update 3". Msdn.microsoft.com. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  22. ^ "Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 (KB3165756)". Msdn.microsoft.com. Retrieved August 28, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]