Thanks a lot for the tips so far. I should probably clarify that my goal is= to create an easy to use toolkit for rapid prototyping of embedded gizmos = on Windows and to release it to the public as *open source*.
Frankly, I'm really surprised that something like this does not seem to exi= st yet. I have quite extensive experience in Qt, for example, but Qt, wxWid= gets, or Microsoft solutions like MFC, ActiveX, or .NET/C# represent quite = a steep learning curve and a big complication for embedded developers. It's= like having to buy a whole pub just to drink a pint of beer.
I mean, all that's really needed for good looking, realistic embedded front= panels is a dialog-box designed with a resource editor (e.g. free ResEdit)= and a couple of custom controls, such as dot-matrix display, segmented dis= play, and owner-drawn button. I also think that embedded folks would apprec= iate direct programming in C, rather than having to jump the hoops of diffe= rent languages (C#, VisualBasic, or even C++).
The use of the plain Win32 API would also drastically simplify the tools. T= he free Visual C++ Express (with Platform SDK) and the free ResEdit should = do it.
I don't mean to start here any religious wars, but, frankly, the GNU-based = tools--and especially the GDB--are horrible for Windows development (this i= ncludes Eclipse with CDT and GDB under the hood). I don't think one can act= ually achieve any true productivity gains with the flaky GDB debugger, whic= h of course defeats the whole purpose of moving the development to the desk= top in the first place. I made this experience with Qt development. I start= ed with the Qt Creator IDE, but quickly got frustrated and disappointed. I = finally switched to Visual Studio and the difference was like night and day= . I was at least an order of magnitude more productive.=20
In the end, the devil is always in the detail. I think that to be really he= lpful, an embedded prototyping toolkit for Windows must include support for= the most productive tools available and *complete* code and examples. I do= n't think that generic statements like "you can draw on an external bitmap"= are helpful.