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In the present day, every part is on-line. Music, films, video games, and software program are only a obtain away, however bodily media was king in many years previous. Some highly effective and sophisticated software program instruments got here with a lot packaging and bodily media that they might weigh greater than the pc used to run them. Such was the case with Microsoft’s C/C++ compiler, which Microsoft Archivist Amy Stevenson has known as out as the corporate’s heaviest software program product ever.

Microsoft launched the C/C++ compiler in 1992, making it Microsoft’s first-ever native C++ improvement device for MS-DOS, Home windows, and OS/2 functions. Beforehand, Microsoft relied on C++ “preprocessor” compilers that took C++ code and transformed it to C earlier than a compiler created the executable program. This was a giant deal on the time, and Microsoft did not skimp on the packaging.

In accordance with Stevenson, the two-foot field weighed greater than 40 kilos. A lot of the bulk got here within the type of thick reference books and “fast” begin guides. Understand that this was within the early days of the web. You could not simply name up an online web page with documentation at a second’s discover. Even when there was an internet useful resource, it will not have been straightforward to entry.

It isn’t #AskAnArchivist day but however we requested our Microsoft Archivist, Amy Stevenson, a number of #OneDevQuestions anyway.@Microsoft has shipped some software program merchandise that have been large hits however we requested Amy:

👉 What was the most important piece of software program we ever shipped?

— Home windows Dev Docs (@WindowsDocs) August 19, 2022

The precise software program was contained on 20 3.5-inch floppy disks. They’d have contributed round half a pound to the full bundle. So, we’re speaking principally books within the huge field, however are you able to think about putting in software program from that many particular person disks? We did it, and we thought it was fairly superb on the time that every one may maintain greater than a megabyte of knowledge.

Stevenson notes that Microsoft by no means tried to ship a chunk of software program that cumbersome once more. The next 12 months, the corporate launched Visible C++, which it continues to develop to at the present time as a part of Visible Studio. You possibly can obtain that in the present day with a web weight of zero kilos due to the wonders of the web. There’s one thing comforting about getting a chunk of software program with bodily manuals and disks, however a single obtain provides you every part it’s essential to develop in C++, JavaScript, CSS, and extra. The effectivity of the longer term is good, however we do miss the whimsy of a 40-pound software program bundle.

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