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Half or more of the C++/CLI questions posted every day demonstrate, through fundamental misunderstanding of OOP, that the asker has never learned either standard C++ or C#, or even a similar managed language such as Java, VB.NET, or F#.

I feel that C++/CLI is not a language for beginners, it's for users who have run up against limits of p/invoke (or C# generally) and want to use features like C++ templates, deterministics destruction, C++ interop, and large existing C++ code bases.

Would the SO community favor or frown on telling these users that they aren't ready to try C++/CLI until they learn either C# (or standard C++, depending on the question) first?


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I doubt this is limited to C++/CLI – davidsleeps Apr 7 '11 at 4:19
Would the "bad-question" tag apply to this question? – Andrew Grimm Apr 7 '11 at 4:20
@Andrew: Probably. I'll add it. I'm not as familiar with commonly used tags on meta as the main SO site. – Ben Voigt Apr 7 '11 at 4:21
I dunno about wrong or not, but it's certainly a challenge to word such a response in a way that remains "nice." – Charles Apr 7 '11 at 4:36
@Charles: I tend to favor "most helpful" over "nice". Usually the two don't conflict, sometimes they do, but I can think of many worse things to be known as than "blunt". – Ben Voigt Apr 7 '11 at 4:39
Considering that the second post contains "CIS170CLab6B", I'm guessing that at least one of the posters doesn't have a choice of which language to use. Even better, that post has a comment suggesting that the OP attend a C++ class! – Gabe Apr 7 '11 at 6:08
up vote 8 down vote accepted

No, that's not okay. C++/CLI is a newbie language, first one everybody tries after they download the C++ Express edition. There is no other way to get something decent looking going in that edition in a week or less. Newbie programmers ask newbie questions, they are just not helped with a crusty guru that's worn out from the questions.

Which is all rather counter to what you think C++/CLI should be used for. Probably the best way to resolve that is talk to Microsoft. You are a C++ MVP, feedback is expected and appreciated. Allen Li or Diego Dagum are probably your best bet to get that started.

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You're right, I do have some points to make to Allen and Diego when I think about it. Most students taking a C++ class shouldn't be ending up with Visual C++ Express (MS provides VS for free to students), shouldn't be using C++/CLI (their code will fail when the TA tries to compile with gcc on linux), and probably aren't being asked for a GUI, they got one by accident due to new project wizard default settings. That covers just about everyone who doesn't have a choice about what language to use. And MS could easily help this problem with a few well-placed links. – Ben Voigt Apr 7 '11 at 14:16

Instead of doing that, you could point them to a FAQ page explaining basic things you think they are lacking. There are all kind of FAQs on the net and easy to find.

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