As mentioned in the previous section, an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) contains all of the things you need to develop, compile, link, and debug your programs. So let’s install one.
The obvious question is, “which one?”. Keep in mind that you can install multiple IDEs, so there is no “wrong decision” here. During the course of these tutorials, we will be showing you some of the nice features of your IDE, such as how to do integrated debugging. All of our examples will be done using both Microsoft’s Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition, and Code::Blocks. Thus we highly recommend you pick one of these.
However, if you would like to try your hand at another compiler, you are free to do so. The concepts we show you will work for any IDE — however, different IDE’s use different keymappings and different setups, and you may have to do a bit of searching to find the equivalent of what we show you.
If you are developing on a Windows machine (as most of you are), then we highly recommend Microsoft’s free Visual C++ 2010 Express Edition. The installer that you download off of Microsoft’s web page is actually a downloader. When you run it, it will download the actual IDE from Microsoft.
Note: This tutorial was originally written when Microsoft was distributing the 2005 version of Visual C++. Consequently, all references and screenshots are targeted to that version. Running the 2008 or 2010 versions are fine, however, your screens may look slightly different.
MSDN express will give you documentation about C/C++ functions that you will refer to often. If you do not install MSDN Express on your hard drive, then Visual C++ will use the online version at msdn.microsoft.com/.
The installer will likely ask you to reboot your computer after it has finished downloading the components. When it does, your computer may appear to “hang” temporarily. Don’t panic, it’s just installing stuff. Once you are back into Windows, you may need to run the installer again. Choose the same options, and it will seem like it’s going to download everything again, but it won’t. It will install the program.
Linux or Windows
If you are developing on Linux (or you are developing on Windows but want to write programs that you can easily port to Linux), we recommend Code::Blocks. Code::Blocks is a free, open source, cross-platform IDE that will run on both Linux and Windows.
Windows users, make sure to get the version with MinGW bundled.
Alternately, some people prefer to use Bloodshed’s Dev-C++, which also runs on both Windows and Linux.
Once your IDE is installed (which is one of the hardest things this tutorial will ask you to do), you are ready to write your first program!
|0.6 — Compiling your first program|
|0.4 — Introduction to development|