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From Garrett Rooney <roo...@electricjellyfish.net>
Subject The Win32 Build, Visual Studio Versions, etc.
Date Mon, 16 Jan 2006 04:25:09 GMT
So I played around with getting HTTPD to build on a windows machine
today, using only the freely available "Express" version of Visual C++
that Microsoft released a little while back.  It works, basically, but
it's not nearly as easy as it should be, for a few reasons.

The major problems is that the conversion from the existing .dsp files
over to VS.Net .sln and .vcproj files doesn't seem to work perfectly. 
Specifically, the libs that various targets are linked against don't
seem to get migrated perfectly, so you have to go add a few .libs to
libapr, libhttpd, a bunch of the command line tools, the win32
specific programs, and probably some more places I can't recall.

Aside from this hurdle, the major problem with getting this stuff to
build was simply that the Makefile.win targets describe in the build
instructions include targets that run _build, which tries to run
visual studio using the vc6 (I think) command line tool, which doesn't
work with newer visual studio versions.  It's possible to work around
this by running the build by hand, then calling _install directly to
build the dist tree, but it's a bit of a pain.

I didn't actually go so far as to try building the APR tests, but I
imagine they'd probably suffer similar problems to the httpd command
line tools.

So I guess what I'm asking is has anyone else spent any time working
with these compilers?  Is there any way we can make the use of them
easier?  I'd love for it to be a reasonably well defined set of steps
for an APR or HTTPD developer to actually get things running on Win32,
and if those instructions start with "go download this free thing from
microsoft" as opposed to "go shell out a few hundred bucks for visual
studio" it'll probably encourage people to actually do some work on
the win32 code, which is a bit underloved lately IMO.

If there isn't an easy way we can make our current system of .dsp
files convert easily into VC.Net Express projects, then I'm curious if
we couldn't start thinking about either maintaining parrallel build
files for newer Visual Studio versions, or even better just switching
to it as the default on win32.  I'm sure that I recall various issues
that make it desirable to use earlier versions of visual studio, but
are these issues really insurmountable?

-garrett

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