This book is oriented to teaching you how to program in C++ in Microsoft environments. Specifically it teaches two distinct versions of C++:
First is standard ISO/ANSI standard C++ that will run on anything and is specifically for the development of high performance applications that run in native mode on the computer.
Second is C++/CLI which is part of Microsoft's .NET framework. .NET is a library of routines that accomplish many of the standard tasks that you would otherwise have to program yourself.
The book is based around the Visual Studio 2005 development environment. Visual Studio is a full fledged IDE, the tools it provides will make writing code much easier. In fact, this and the inclusion of C++/CLI are what set this book apart from others. If you are not interested in using Visual Studio, you may want to consider another of Mr. Horton's books.
This book is in reference, format. That is, it follows more of a traditional textbook format rather than the tutorial, one step at a time, approach of many others.
Mr. Horton's writing style is relaxed and easy, it appeals to many of us. By the end ot twelve hundred pages you will need something light and easy.