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Wanting to learn C++

Posted on 2012-03-10
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Last Modified: 2012-03-10
I have been programming in VB & VBA for years, but now fancy a new challange.  I've always wanted to learn C++, because of the possibilites it gives to a developer.  My ultimate objective will be to create cross-platform database applications, but I fully appreciate that it will take a good few years to get to the level required.

I could really do with a few pointers as to the right IDE and good books.  I have used Visual Studio - and was thinking that this would be a good, familiar starting point, but I want to give myself as many options as possible for the future, so this may not be the best idea.

I know this is a very vague question - but I always get good advice from the EE members, so it felt like a good place to start.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:Andy Brown
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evilrix earned 2000 total points
ID: 37705005
If you're developing on Windows I'd stick with Visual Studio. Since you already know it as an IDE there's little point in making your life harder for no good reason. As IDEs go it's actually one of the better ones and its in-built debugger is second to none (IMHO).

As for books; assuming you are a complete novice I would start with C++ for Dummies 1 & 2 (I kid you not, they two books are a great way to learn the basics). You could then move onto more advanced stuff and I'd whole heartedly recommend you read Effective C++ and More Effective C++ by Scott Meyer. After those, Effective STL (also by Meyer) would be good choice. Those books alone should give you a reasonable grounding in the basics of C++.

Also, note: regardless of what you are told do not learn C before you learn C++. Whilst for the most part C++ is a superset of C the principles and idioms of writing Object Oriented code are very very different from the Prodecural code you write in C. Also, a lot of stuff you might do in C are consider seriously bad/poor practice or just plain deprecated/unnecessary in C++ (for example, using malloc and free are nearly always wrong and printf and sprintf are replaced by [far safer and more flexible] streams).

Hope this helps.
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Author Comment

by:Andy Brown
ID: 37705040
That's a real help - thank you.   I'll leave the question open for a little while longer and then allocate the points.
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Author Comment

by:Andy Brown
ID: 37705049
PS - Initially my apps will be PC based, but I would (eventually), like to create Mac based apps (or even other platforms).  Do you still think I'd be better of learning the basics using VS (and then moving over to the Mac equivalent)?
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Author Closing Comment

by:Andy Brown
ID: 37705132
Thanks guys - really appreciate your help on this.
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:evilrix
ID: 37705165
>> Do you still think I'd be better of learning the basics using VS
I do, because it will allow you to focus on learning C++ and not learning a new IDE. That all said, I use vim for all my editing but it's certainly not something I'd recommend unless you have already got a reasonable amount of experience using it :)
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