It's been a few years since I last dabbled in C++ and then it was only learning the console stuff but by no means was I a master of it. I'm comfortable with VBA, MS Access and SQL.

I'm wanting to delve into the GUI world of C++ with a view to not being restricted to Windows only deployment but my development environment is Windows.

As a private user, hobbyist, I'm seeking advice on which GUI environment I should use. I'm not planning on developing commercial applications it's re-writing some personal applications.

One IDE I have considered is Embarcaredo C++ Builder - Starter Edition, but I'll have to dismiss it, as the Starter Edition does not include database access. The Starter Edition is free and the edition that includes database access, the next edition up, the Pro version, is far too expensive (AU$2500) for simple personal use.

Are there any reasonably priced options out there for my needs?

I've aways used the free ones in my hobbyist/private life. Every C++ IDE that I've had to pay for in the business world would have been free for the hobbyist. Visual Studio is now free for Hobbyist developers (Visual Studio, not just Visual Studio Express). NetBeans, Eclipse, and CodeBlocks arre all free and all work for C++. The MingW and MSYS toolsets are free as well and work with NetBeans and CodeBlocks for the C++ component, not sure about Eclipse, but I would imagine it works there too. So there's four free ones that work well. MySQL++ is a free C++ wrapper. NetBeans and Visual Studio both have database options, though I haven't used them. And plain old MySQL is free too.

I would try one of those four (Visual Studio, CodeBlocks, NetBeans, Eclipse) using the MingW/MSYS compiler for free and see if you need anything more. I haven't done much Windows GUI programming, but what I did was with Visual Studio and it seemed easy enough (it was a while ago. At the time, only the Express edition was free. Now the regular Visual Studio is free).

My general motto is try the free stuff first, then start spending money if and only if the free stuff doesn't suffice. I've been pleasantly surprised at how often the free stuff DOES suffice. YMMV.

Thanks AssertNull. I totally forgot about the Visual Studio side of things, I'll hit the Google machine later and check things out.