Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC)

What Does Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) Mean?

Microsoft foundation classes (MFC) are C++ language and Windows application programming interface (API) classes bundled in a software application development library.


The MFC library is a collection of many different classes, including Windows APIs. It is built with C++ language and serves functionalities required by most executable software programs. These classes are prewritten and routine-based code that may be reused as application program components on the same back end.

Techopedia Explains Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC)

As Microsoft realized the need for real-world software and Web application functionalities, as well as rising global demand for technology solutions, the job of the programmer grew increasingly complex. Many programmers were accustomed to rewriting or customizing code for different applications, especially because of the identical nature of operating system-based controls.

In 1993, Microsoft released MFC 1.0 with C/C++ 7.0, which was a comprehensive set of prewritten and easily embedded classes and Windows APIs that greatly reduced developer time and effort.
The MFC library framework tool remains popular and is used by many developers. However, the .NET framework is making significant strides due to its solid Microsoft backing and varied language interoperability. The MFC library encompasses all potentially required application interfaces, such as the graphical user interface, ActiveX, input/output and other OS-handling mechanisms.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.