I heard a lot about makefiles and how they simplify the compilation process. I'm using VS2008. Can somebody please suggest some online references or books where I can find out more about how to deal with them?
A UNIX guy probably told you that. :)
You can use makefiles in VS, but when you do it bypasses all the built-in functionality in MSVC's IDE. Makefiles are basically the reinterpret_cast of the builder. IMO the simplest thing is just to use Solutions.