I was reading through some blogs this morning, and ran across this one, from my MSDN Feed.
Here is my answer (I wanted to leave a comment, but it wasn’t working, and I figured it would be a good blog post anyways)
Right now you can make an MFC app and it can run on win98,2k,xp,vista, etc – out of the box. Anything with .NET requires the framework, and if you want your app to just be downloaded and ran, then the framework limitation hurts you. Why make someone download and install a d 20+ MB framework?
I wish there was a way to deploy .net apps without the framework, maybe with just assemblies the apps needs.
But like I said, companies want apps to run on as many clients as possible, which just isn’t a reality with .NET, but it is with MFC.
I really think Microsoft is clueless on why people use MFC and not .NET or even an Web App. Finally, MSFT is starting to use .NET in their client apps here and there (WLW, SSMS, Zune, etc, etc)
Once all apps written by Microsoft use some form of .NET, and Windows 98, 2000, and XP are gone for good (or at such small % of market share they don’t matter, say < 1%), then we can actually write .NET client applications (and have to target the version of .NET on Vista, since that is the lowest common denominator) – OR… MSFT could push .NET as a critical update to XP and wipe the % of .NET installed down to a low enough number to make it feasible to create .NET client apps and get a good chunk of the market share..
There are always going to be people that use MFC for whatever reason, but ease of use is certianly not one of them. A small example is, in .NET, I can create an app that displays a toast message, has a systray icon, connects to FTP, handles web services, and much much more, in very little time, and with a small number of lines of code, whereas in MFC, doing those things is a huge undertaking, 1000's of lines of code, and even then some of it is very "hackish". Yes, doable, but not very easily.
Another argument could be as well, that if your app is good enough, people will download it and install the framework if they don't have it, and I think that is a very good argument (except windows 98 is out of luck – can't install .NET) – I think this last argument is the best – if people want it, and it is an awesome app, they will install whatever to get it to run.
Anyways, I am rambling.. probably could keep talking on this topic for another 100 paragraphs or so. :)