In programming, like in many other professions and crafts, learning can be through studying and through doing. And specifically if one wants to learn C++ the best way is to start doing and only then thinking. Sounds crazy but it’s true. Usually one takes C++ program examples, compiles them and study, learning all rules on his way when needed. Basically learning computer language is pretty similar to learning human languages. You have to have to learn the words, semantics, and the rules of how to combine the words, syntax.
But every language contains several times more words than anyone knows. We don’t really need to know all the words and all the meanings of words to master a human language. The same situation we face with computer languages. We don’t really need to know everything. We just need to know exactly what we need to achieve our current goals without trying to understand all from the very beginning. It’s just impossible.
And eventually we come to a conclusion that the best way of learning a computer language is by doing. That is to learn programming we need just to start programming. It’s like making someone learn swimming by throwing him into the water. So let’s throw ourselves into computer programming to learn it.
We’ll learn programming in C++ in Windows operating system using GUI (Graphic User Interface, windows we commonly see in Windows) through Win32 API. It means we will not use MFC. Some think it’s great; others do not like it at all.
What do we need to start programming? We need the following:
- Desire and patience.
- Computer with Windows operating system.
- The main programming tool, a compiler.
- An editor because native compiler editors are not really good to do everything.
- An idea, what kind of program we want to make. This is also very important.
Let’s use as a C++ compiler Dev-C++. As an editor we can use Notepad++. Those programs are absolutely free and easily downloadable from Internet. But they are not always available. It’s advisable to keep installation program after downloading and installing to be able to install it again. Because if you successfully compiled a program under one compiler it does not mean you will compiler it under a different compiler. And installation programs occasionally disappear from Internet.
So our next two steps should be downloading and installing Dev-C++, MSDN library and (optional) downloading and installing Notepad++.