C++ developers generally care a lot about how fast their code runs. In many cases that's the reason they wrote the application in C++. Every release of C++ development tools (compiler, optimizer, linker etc) typically has some effort invested in producing code that runs faster, even if that means the tool itself runs slower. It's tempting to think that the gains would have levelled off by now - after all, C++ has been around for a very long time. But a recent post by Lin Xu of the C++ team
shows how you can take you 2008 project and rebuild it in 2010 (using the right options of course) to see up to a 16% speed increase with no code changes by you. Lin also discusses the extent to which this will slow your build process.
Visual Studio 2010 and Visual C++ have a TON of important new features for native developers, which I'll cover shortly. But let's just start with this one - faster applications - for the moment.