What is the difference between dllexport and dllimport?

I’m just looking for a simple, concise explanation of the difference between these two. MSDN doesn’t go into a hell of a lot of detail here.


__declspec( dllexport ) – The class or function so tagged will be exported from the DLL it is built in. If you’re building a DLL and you want an API, you’ll need to use this or a separate .DEF file that defines the exports (MSDN). This is handy because it keeps the definition in one place, but the .DEF file provides more options.

__declspec( dllimport ) – The class or function so tagged will be imported from a DLL. This is not actually required – you need an import library anyway to make the linker happy. But when properly marked with dllimport, the compiler and linker have enough information to optimize the call; without it, you get normal static linking to a stub function in the import library, which adds unnecessary indirection. ONT1 ONT2

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