Visual Studio 6 has been my compiler of choice for Windows development until 2008, when I installed Visual Studio 2008 (VS9), Express Edition, which Microsoft allows to use for just about anything (see Express Editions FAQ). VS6 project files (.dsw and .dsp) were provided with many Open Source projects used in Stone Steps Webalizer (SSW), which also was a nice bonus, as creating projects files from scratch and maintaining them for existing 3rd-party projects is a somewhat laborious and time-consuming process.
Granted, VS6 lacked C++ standard compliance big time, especially with templates, but it also was, after six service packs I might add, a very robust implementation. Visual Studio 2003 (VS7) was primarily to promote Microsoft's C# and didn't bring as much on the C++ side of things. However, Visual Studio 2005 (VS8) changed all this with a standard-compliant C++ compiler. Once VS8 Express Edition was released, I tried to switch the SSW project to VS8 and ran into several serious issues because other libraries were still built with VS6.
I migrated project files and fixed up the source for most of the libraries used in the project, but ran into a pretty serious problem with the memory manager shared between SSW and Berkeley DB (BDB):
After Oracle suggested that their projects would compile under VS7, I converted all BDB projects to VS9 and gave it a try. It worked amazingly well - Sleepy Cat and Oracle developers did a great job making BDB code standard-compliant.
Once all of these issues have been resolved, I finally converted SSW project to VS9 and started to work on the code. It's amazing what a good compiler can do for you! I ended up removing hundreds and hundreds of lines of code used as workarounds for deficiencies in the VS6 C++ compiler. The resulting executable also ran about 5% faster, which was an unexpected bonus.
Now all projects are converted to VS9 and successfully released and it was time to say good bye to Visual Studio 6. I uninstalled VS6 in the morning today. It was good product.