As my relatives may know, I am fond of Digital Mars D programming language. It allies both C++ power and modern languages ease of use, like Java or C#.
When you read a criticism of the D programming language, one of the flaws that come the most often is related to the toolchain. OPTLINK, the Windows linker comes to my mind immediately (thank God DMD UNIX version use the GCC linker instead of this one). But the most problematic issue is certainly the lack of a good IDE.
Of course, a lot of good text editors do have a D mode by now, but you often still have to compile and debug your application in a seperate terminal window. If GDB last version now supports D, there was a long way to a integration in a good IDE.
Rainer Schuetze may be our messiah, having written a Visual Studio plugin called, you had guessed it, Visual D.
Let's have a look how to install it correctly on Windows.
First step, download the compiler.
Visual D do not provies a D compiler by itself, it only launches it and communicates with it. So you have to download the official Digital Mars compiler, DMD. Last version is 2.049 by now. It comes as a zip archive that you just have to decompress in a folder. For the need of this article, I have chosen the C:\dmd2 folder.
Second step, Visual Studio
If you are the happy owner of a non Express Visual Studio version, please make sure it is installed correctly and skip the following lines.
If Visual Studio Express versions are free of charge, they do not include plugin support, so you cannot use them to host the Visual D plugin. You have to download and install something called Visual Studio 2010 Shell instead. It is in fact the Visual Studio standard edition IDE, without any language support. It is not meant to be used directly, but as a plugin platform. We are going to use it as a Visual D host. It is provided by Microsoft for free. Once you have downloaded and installed it, you can go to the next section.
Visual, at last
Now download and install Visual D. At the time these lines are written, version 0.3.17 has just came out of the bake. This is the version I use.
If you have several Visual Studio versions installed on your computer, be sure to choose the 2010 version during the installation process. When you will be asked to, indicate the folder where you had DMD unzipped at step one (c:\dmd2 if you did the way I did).
Now you can start Visual Studio 2010 from your Start menu. If everything went right, you will see D project templates on the "File / new project "dialog. Just try to create a "hello world" console application to ensure you installation is correct.
Don't worry about this ".Net Framework 4" thiing on the top of the screen, DMD will only generate 100% native code !
Cannot add symbols to module, probably msobj100.dll missing
Whenever I was trying to compile and run an application in the IDE, I got this error message. It seems that the missing msobj100.dll file is not provided by Visual Studio 2010 Shell. Fortunately, it comes with Visual C++ 2010. I was able to resolve the issue by downloading and installing Visual C++ 2010 Express and now everything works correctly for me.