Advice on Windows compiler

I have decided to attempt to learn the art of windows programming, which I perceive means I will need to get up to speed in C++. I intend this initially as home hobby, but believe it could have application for with some of my work related projects. I can google and get the hype and adds and all that, and I will, but I am interested in learning your opinions regarding the better development tools available, as well as recommendations on reference materials.




Comments

  • : I have decided to attempt to learn the art of windows programming, which I perceive means I will need to get up to speed in C++. I intend this initially as home hobby, but believe it could have application for with some of my work related projects. I can google and get the hype and adds and all that, and I will, but I am interested in learning your opinions regarding the better development tools available, as well as recommendations on reference materials.
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    "The best" compiler for MS-Windows is of course the Microsoft VC++ 6.0 and .NET -- that's what MS-Windows was written with so you can't get any more compatible. Next best is probably Borland -- don't know what its called but it supports .NET too.

    For learning c++ I'd choose Dev-C++ from bloodshet.net because its backend compiler is gc++ which is about as close to ansi c++ as one can find (and because its free)
  • You don't need to know C++. The core Win32 API is all C.

    The acknowledged bible of Win32 programming is Petzold's 'Programming Windows', which is both comprehensive and extremely well written. It's straight-up Win32 programming, in C, starting with Hello World.

    For compiler, I would recommend Microsoft Visual C++ (I think they may even have a free version these days). It's loaded with useful tools. A powerful IDE like this (with code navigation features, Intellisense, context sensitive help, etc.) will make things as painless as possible.

    If you want to go the pure command-line/makefile route, then just download Borland C++'s free compiler. It's the full set of tools used in their commercial IDE -- everything you need to build and debug Win32 binaries (exe or DLL).

  • Thanks for the advice. I'm ordering some I/O today and going to embark on windows based control. How hard can it be? :-)

  • : How hard can it be? :-)

    As long as you're not writing GUIs, easy as pie. As soon as you want to create windows, there are a few conceptual hurdles that are rough for all beginning Windows programmers. Petzold talks about it in his opening words -- he basically says, "Don't feel bad if you find this difficult at first, we all did." But once you "get it" you wonder why it ever seemed so hard.
  • : Thanks for the advice. I'm ordering some I/O today and going to embark on windows based control. How hard can it be? :-)
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    [green]
    you might want to get the sdk from microsoft on cd. I got it for like $8.00US and it contains most of what you will need to develop windows apps.
    [/green]

  • : : How hard can it be? :-)
    :
    : As long as you're not writing GUIs, easy as pie. As soon as you want to create windows, there are a few conceptual hurdles that are rough for all beginning Windows programmers. Petzold talks about it in his opening words -- he basically says, "Don't feel bad if you find this difficult at first, we all did." But once you "get it" you wonder why it ever seemed so hard.
    :

    Thanks again for the advice. I have done some programming involving the GUI on the Amiga (remember them?) computers in a language known as FORTH. As I recall the "windows" were each a large data structure defining all aspects of the window. It's been years so the memory is dim, but I do recall that the task was daunting at first.
  • [red]Amiga (remember them?) [/red]

    [green]
    Ahh such a wonderfull computer! :-) To bad the company went bankrupt. The computer had alot of promise!
    [/green]

  • : I have decided to attempt to learn the art of windows programming, which I perceive means I will need to get up to speed in C++. I intend this initially as home hobby, but believe it could have application for with some of my work related projects. I can google and get the hype and adds and all that, and I will, but I am interested in learning your opinions regarding the better development tools available, as well as recommendations on reference materials.

    My very strong recommendation is to avoid using MFC (Microsoft's windowing class) and instead use wxWidgets (www.wxwidgets.org). It's cleaner and easier to use. It's free. And the support and examples are very good.

    You can compile it with Visual C++ or other compilers.

    Matt.

  • : Thanks again for the advice. I have done some programming involving
    : the GUI on the Amiga (remember them?) computers in a language known
    : as FORTH.

    FORTH, now there's something I haven't heard of in a while. Did you know the lowest level of Sun's Solaris operating system is written in FORTH?

    : As I recall the "windows" were each a large data structure defining
    : all aspects of the window. It's been years so the memory is dim, but
    : I do recall that the task was daunting at first.

    The biggest conceptual shift is that Windows programs are [italic]event driven[/italic]. The heart of a Windows app is a callback function called the "window procedure". This function is called [italic]by Windows[/italic] to tell you when you need to repaint your window, when the user has clicked the mouse or hit a key, whenever anything of interest in the outside world has occured.
  • :
    : My very strong recommendation is to avoid using MFC (Microsoft's windowing class)

    don't you know that's [b]war talk![/b] :-)
  • [b][red]This message was edited by Lundin at 2005-2-15 3:25:28[/red][/b][hr]
    : : I have decided to attempt to learn the art of windows programming, which I perceive means I will need to get up to speed in C++. I intend this initially as home hobby, but believe it could have application for with some of my work related projects. I can google and get the hype and adds and all that, and I will, but I am interested in learning your opinions regarding the better development tools available, as well as recommendations on reference materials.
    :
    : My very strong recommendation is to avoid using MFC (Microsoft's windowing class) and instead use wxWidgets (www.wxwidgets.org). It's cleaner and easier to use. It's free. And the support and examples are very good.
    :
    : You can compile it with Visual C++ or other compilers.
    :
    : Matt.
    :
    :

    Or don't bother with MS at all and use Borland Builder, which is way better imo. I think it supports MFC too, if you are dying to use that :-)

    Borland has always had the best RAD tools (Rapid Application Development) and still have. Get Borland if you are going to invest money in something you plan to use for a long time. Visual Studio is good too, but you never know when MS is going to throw all compability away and start over on something new, which they, as we all know, are very infamous for (just look at VB or MS Office).


  • : :
    : : My very strong recommendation is to avoid using MFC (Microsoft's windowing class)
    :
    : don't you know that's [b]war talk![/b] :-)
    :

    Ha! Bring it!

    Well, I've used both - for fairly large, commercial projects. And for me, there's no comparison. wxWidgets (formerly wxWindows) whupps the crap out of MFC on all fronts. And that's especially true for the inexperienced.

    In addition to that, the whole thing is cross-platform. What a bonus! With Linux on the rise ... and Mac making a small comeback ... who can argue that that's not a good thing?

    Matt.
  • : Or don't bother with MS at all and use Borland Builder, which is way better imo. I think it supports MFC too, if you are dying to use that :-)
    :

    My suggestion of using wxWidgets is independent of the compiler you choose. So you can use Borland with wxWidgets if you choose. Or g++ via cygwin even.

    : Borland has always had the best RAD tools (Rapid Application Development) and still have. Get Borland if you are going to invest money in something you plan to use for a long time. Visual Studio is good too, but you never know when MS is going to throw all compability away and start over on something new, which they, as we all know, are very infamous for (just look at VB or MS Office).
    :

    wxWidgets is free.

    [let me make sure this is clear - it's a cross-platform windowing library and not a compiler.]

    Although I am no M$ fan, the Visual Studio C++ compiler is only getting more standard compliant, not less. And that appears to be their goal. If you're talking about pure C++, I wouldn't worry about losing support or compatibility.

    Now, .NET is another matter altogether. Be wary... very wary.

    Matt.

  • : I have decided to attempt to learn the art of windows programming, which I perceive means I will need to get up to speed in C++. I intend this initially as home hobby, but believe it could have application for with some of my work related projects. I can google and get the hype and adds and all that, and I will, but I am interested in learning your opinions regarding the better development tools available, as well as recommendations on reference materials.
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    :
    1
  • : : Or don't bother with MS at all and use Borland Builder, which is way better imo. I think it supports MFC too, if you are dying to use that :-)
    : :
    :
    : My suggestion of using wxWidgets is independent of the compiler you choose. So you can use Borland with wxWidgets if you choose. Or g++ via cygwin even.
    :
    : : Borland has always had the best RAD tools (Rapid Application Development) and still have. Get Borland if you are going to invest money in something you plan to use for a long time. Visual Studio is good too, but you never know when MS is going to throw all compability away and start over on something new, which they, as we all know, are very infamous for (just look at VB or MS Office).
    : :
    :
    : wxWidgets is free.
    :
    : [let me make sure this is clear - it's a cross-platform windowing library and not a compiler.]
    :
    : Although I am no M$ fan, the Visual Studio C++ compiler is only getting more standard compliant, not less. And that appears to be their goal. If you're talking about pure C++, I wouldn't worry about losing support or compatibility.
    :
    : Now, .NET is another matter altogether. Be wary... very wary.
    :
    : Matt.
    :
    :


    I've used wxWidgets once before and I've used SDL. Both are cross-platform libraries. SDL is used alot for cross-platform game programming. How would you compare wxWidgets to SDL? I prefer SDL myself, it was easier to learn (for me).
    [italic][blue]To understand recursive, first you need to understand recursive[/blue][/italic]

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