General Question

skorned's avatar

Best C++ compiler and tutorial/book?

Asked by skorned (97 points ) July 18th, 2009

I have had some experience with programming in the past with VB 2008 in Visual Studio. However, I’d like to learn a more powerful language, and due to some circumstances, have decided to work on C++.
I have Windows, Mac and Unix machines, so can someone suggest the best compiler for it? I just started with Hello World in Turbo C++ using the free online book ‘How to Think Like a Computer Scientist’.

However, there are 2 major problems. One, in another book I read, I realised that the syntax Turbo is using is old, not the new ANSI- C standard. I’m assuming corporates and the real world have adapted the new standards, so it would be best for me to adopt an ANSI-C compiler. I tried Visual C++ but found it very wierd, as if they had a completely different syntax altogether, with t_main instead of main and stuff. Examples I lifted directly from books refused to work in Visual Studio. Should they be working, or does Visual C++ use slightly different syntax? Anyhow, I’ve tried my hand with Visual C++, Turbo, and GCC in backtrack, but didn’t like any. Can someone point me to the best standards compliant widely used compiler/IDE?

And also a book or tutorial that has examples that would work in that compiler please?

And if this thread is a duplicate, I’m sorry, I searched but surprisingly couldn’t find anything like it. If I didn’t look hard enough, please help with a link to the thread?

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4 Answers

cwilbur's avatar

Your best bet for a compiler is probably gcc, despite your experience with it. On Linux, you’ll need to worry about an editor or IDE as well, and on that I can’t really advise you, since I’ve been using Emacs for 20+ years; on the Mac, the best choice is Xcode, which uses gcc as the backend compiler.

Standards compliance is a difficult matter. C++ is a big and complicated language, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if none of the major and popular compilers were fully standards compliant.

Microsoft has built a lot of infrastructure into Visual Studio, and a lot of the changes will make sense only after you have a solid grasp of C++ and a basic understanding of Win32 or .NET.

As far as books go, when I first learned C++ (in the days of cfront), the book C++: How to Program was one of the best.

skorned's avatar

@cwilbur , is there anything more of an IDE with a built-in compiler, and with some basic functions like auto-indenting and syntax highlighting…autosuggest functionality like MS’s Visual C++ would be a nice addon…in fact I tried VC++ again today, and surprisingly, it worked. I even got Turbo C++ to work today, although it wasn’t working yesterday…dunno what I was doing wrong.

anyhow,, thanks for all the help….for now, I’ve got things working in VC++. Don’t hate on MS now, I know I know…monopoly this unfair practice that…but still….you can’t beat the convenience of nice auto-formatting auto-suggesting, with easy one-click compile/running…

and @ratboy , thanks…i found that book through some other sources, and am loving it…its slightly extra lengthy for me because its written with absolute beginners to programming in mind and hences spends a lotta time explaining basic concepts like variables and stuff…but when I skim over it, its really nice, gotten me up and running in no time at all…

cwilbur's avatar

@skorned: there probably is, but as noted, I’ve used Emacs for 20 years, and don’t see any reason to change.

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