This reference/tutorial is based on the authors' college-level and corporate training courses. It gets readers up and running quickly by covering the Visual C++ environment, then progresses to C/C++ programming fundamentals as they relate to Visual C++. It also covers the complete details of Windows 95/NT program development, with both traditional procedure-oriented techniques and object-oriented techniques using the MFC library. Visual C++ is Microsoft's general purpose programming language. Its main advantages are great access to both the operating system and the hardware and maximum programming flexibility. It is used in cases where maximum application execution speed is essential and the requirement for prototyping is minimal. Contrary to somewhat popular belief, Visual C++ is not a RAD (rapid application development) language, although it does provide access to these capabilities through the use of ActiveX controls (formerly OCXs). While the use of wizards in recent versions makes programming much easier, it is still not as easy as languages such as Visual Basic and Delphi. Visual C++ is, after all, C++; a complex language to learn. Chris H. Pappas and William H. Murray III are co-authors of "Windows 3.1 Programming", "Application Programming for Windows NT" and "Borland C++ In-Depth".