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Where to start C++?

Discussion in 'Software' started by yohomes, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. yohomes

    yohomes Private E-2

    I'm trying to learn from:


    Neither of these tell me to download a program or where to start it at or even a good description of what all the words mean. I downloaded Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Express but when I start a newproject there is always a bunch of stuff on the screen and I don't know what one to choose and if I do choose one theres already writing there. Copying a hello world doesn't work (not that id know how to get it to work). Help would really be appreciated.
  2. Eezak

    Eezak Staff Sergeant

    I'm afraid I can't be of much real help when it comes to C++ programming, but maybe I can suggest a few books and tools that will give you what you seem to need to get started.

    I recently found a book at a local "remainders" bookstore (the sort of place that sells off excess book stock) called Introduction to Game Programming with C++ that I think is pretty good.

    The games are rather simple but are designed to give you an introduction to the basic features of C++. Unfortunately the book lists for $45 (cost me $9 @ the remainders store though ;-). Still, if you search around on the web you may be able to find a much cheaper copy if you're interested in this particular approach to C++ programming.

    Regarding your specific questions....Beginning on p73 of the above book there is info about several C++ IDE's (Integrated Development Environments -- i.e. a combination of text editor and compiler for programming in C++). Fortunately there are a couple of C++ IDE's that are available as free downloads (see below for one suggestion).

    There is also Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET which is, apparently, widely used by professional programmers, but rather pricey.

    I'd suggest you download the free version of the C++ IDE below, called Code::Blocks. The download is about 75 MB in size (took less than 10 seconds with my moderate speed cable connection). Once installed it occupies about 150 MB on your hard drive -- maybe less than that depending on the extra options you select during setup.

    Strictly speaking this IDE does not include it's own compiler/linker, but does include one that works well with it which is integrated into the download/installation package.

    The home page of the Code::Blocks website is here:


    The downloads page there, assuming you want a Windows compatible version to use, is here (there are several Linux compatible versions also):


    The download you probably want to use (easiest to install) is the binary file, not the source code (which is also available), which means you don't have to compile it first to use it. Just download it and double-click on the downloaded file to begin the installation.

    Be sure to read the Important Note about possible download problems near the top of the page and then click on the larger of the two downloads available for use with the Windows platform (this version of Code::Blocks is supposed to work fine with XP, Vista, and 7 and installed and ran without a hitch on my own 32-bit Windows XP Service Pack 3 setup.)

    You want the larger download of the two shown for the Windows platform because it includes an integrated compiler/linker that is installed along with Code::Blocks without any additional downloads or installation headaches. If you're a beginner to intermediate level programmer I suggest you just accept the default setup options unless, for example, you're also a Python language programmer and want some of the integrated Python features or you see other options that you're already familiar with). You can also change the installation path you wish to use if you don't want to install the package to your C: drive.

    Installation only took maybe 30 seconds or so on my Win XP machine.

    Note the links to various parts of the Code::Blocks website over on the left side of the home page for Code::Blocks (the first link above). In particular, note the links to screenshots showing sample screens of the program in use, a FAQ section and the link to the manual for Code::Blocks which is also a free download.

    The manual won't teach you how to program. It's more like a set of directions for, say, a table saw. That is, it explains how to use the various features of the tool, but it won't teach you how to build a house or a boat (or a spreadsheet or computer game). But you've apparently already found some C++ tutorial material to get you started.

    If you want a book or two to help you and can find a remainders bookstore in your area you'll likely find a C++ for Dummies/Idiots (unfortunate titles -- no offense intended -- but often very useful books for beginners) or similar books available for less than $10. But learning to program even moderately well generally takes a lot of hard work, so carefully look over any programming books you're tempted to buy to make sure the author's style (and writing/teaching abilities) suit you. Also be sure that a book is written for someone of your programming level and experience.

    I am a mediocre programmer at best, but enjoy fiddling around with a modest project now and then just for fun. I used to really enjoy Martin Gardner's Recreational Computing column in Scientific American. You may still be able to find a book of those collected programming columns that you might find interesting as learning projects to work on.

    Gardner's Recreational Computing columns described in general terms how to construct a given programming idea. They weren't tied to a particular computer programming language. I programmed them using an interpreted BASIC for my Atari 800 XL computer I had at the time -- late 70's/early 80's. There were lots of challenging (for a novice programmer) but relatively simple programming projects (often with very pleasing graphics output -- e.g. I first encountered the Mandelbrot Set in Gardner's column).

    Best wishes and good luck!
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  3. PrissyChrissy

    PrissyChrissy Private E-2

    I am fond of O'Reilly books - like C++ The Core Language

    To start learning, I would use Notepad + to write, and you will need the C++ libary and compiler from microsoft. You can compile and execute from the command line. With this much knowledge you ought to be able to run to google or ixquick and get a good return on what you need.

    I love C++, but it is truly evident that it is great when start having the parents have children :-D Classes and object programming that is.

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