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Compiler

KGJMan
KGJMan asked
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Last Modified: 2010-10-05
I was wondering what YOU people out there think I should get as
a ANSI C DOS compiler.  Perhaps Borland C++ 4.5 ?
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You're talking DOS?  well, Borland C++ 4.5 won't work out for you.  The newer 32bit borlands and Microsoft compilers are primarily for Windows95 + Win Console + Win3.1.  They really don't offer as much for the DOS world anymore.  

If you really want to do DOS programming, I'd get Watcom C/C++, I'm not sure what the latest release is.  I have 10.6 (there maybe a 10.7 or even an 11 at this point).  Here are the reasons why:

1) It compiles for:
      DOS
      Win31
      Win95
      WinNT
      DOS32
      OS/2

2) Most DOS programmers these days want to be able
   to access more then just 64K per memory chunk,
   (especially if working with graphics or
   creating games), Watcom comes with the Dos4G/w
   dos extender to allow you to write in FLAT
   mode.  In this mode, you can easily have a
   2 meg array if you want.  The DOS extender
   is also royalty free, so you can distribute it
   with your software.

3) It comes with a decent InfoBase CDROM for
   online tutorials.  

4) It has a DOS based debugger.

5) It makes managing projects fairly easy, and has
   a decent text editor for writing programs

Now, don't get me wrong, I also have MSVC/C++ 4.0, MSVC/C++ 1.52, Watcom 10.5, Watcom 10.6, Turbo C/C++ 3.0.  I go between my MSVC and Watcom for projects.  MSVC since I like doing my windows programming in there better, and most books on MFC are written with MSVC in mind, Watcom for DOS and some windows because it is just a faster compiler, and supports native dos mode instead of just Console mode.  (it does also work in console mode)

Any compiler you buy today, you'll notice that almost NO printed documentation comes with it (perhaps with exception of Symantics C/C++).  You are going to have to buy the printed material separately if you want it.  For MSVC, it comes as 6 volumes priced between 29 - 39 / book, for Watcom, there is a 12 volume set that is purchaseable through the makers of Watcom for ~125-135.  I have purchased the entire printed material for both Watcom and MSVC since I hate online docs for certain things like compiler config.  From what I've seen, Borland is pretty much the same way.  

The other problem with MSVC or Borland is that they don't come with royalty free DOS extenders like watcom.  (MSVC 1.5x which compiles Win3.1 and DOS apps, I am not sure what version of borland.)

But, chances are you are going to have more then one compiler to work with in the long run.  Everything depends on what you are going to spend the most time developing for, how much money you have to spend, and what the compiler offers.

But, for DOS, I still recommend Watcom, most if not all Borland code can be converted to watcom, and there are a bunch of 3rd party libraries available for watcom (ie: VATPro Sound Software, Fast Graph Graphics package, etc.)

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