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Hi, I'm quite a beginner at C++ and I wondered where I could find some EASY TO UNDERSTAND C++ tutorials for beginners. Also, I'm not sure which compiler or program environment I should use and how exactly I'm supposed to install it. Can you help on that? Thanks.

Answer
Sorry but I cannot recommend any online tutorials for C++. As an expert and starting my long and continued education in computing, IT and software development some 27 years ago I have not used online tutorials for C++ as being online was something to aspire to when I started learning C++.

Sites I have found with some help for beginners are:

http://www.cplusplus.com/ - claims to be the C++ resources network
They have what appears to be a reasonably comprehensive C++ tutorial.

http://www.parashift.com/c++-faq-lite/ - a C++ FAQ, with specific answers to many common C++ questions.

http://www.digilife.be/quickreferences/PT.htm - which only covers a few specific parts of C++, which you might like to look further into once you have the basics sort out.

In addition you might like to look at the ACCU (see http://accu.org/), an organisation for professionalism in programming. Their site has some resource links and many book reviews. In addition, if you join then you can participate in mentored projects, some of which in the past have been about starting out with C++.

There are many C++ compilers and development environments. For free C++ compilers and development environments see:

http://www.thefreecountry.com/compilers/cpp.shtml

In the absence of specific information I am going to guess that you are using a PC running a version of Microsoft Windows, in which case the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express (http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/visualC/) and Bloodshed Dev-C++ C++ Compiler (http://www.bloodshed.net/devcpp.html) are probably worth looking at. The former is the novice/student/hobbyist version of the latest C++ implementation from Microsoft and lacks some of the more professional features which you almost certainly do not need when starting out. The Dev-C++ IDE is popular with people teaching and learning C++, and uses a MS Windows port of the GNU C++ compiler and related tools. Both come with graphical IDEs (integrated development environments) to make development easier.

I cannot advise on installing specific C++ packages (I am _not_ a technical support advisor). Generally these days you either run an installer, as with other applications, or read and follow the installation instructions provided, or both. As far as I know both MS Visual Studio and Dev-C++ as easily installed from an installation package. Pay attention to system requirements - operating system, processor, memory, disk space (system partition and installation partition), etc.  

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Ralph McArdell

Expertise

I am a software developer with more than 15 years C++ experience and over 25 years experience developing a wide variety of applications for Windows NT/2000/XP, UNIX, Linux and other platforms. I can help with basic to advanced C++, C (although I do not write just-C much if at all these days so maybe ask in the C section about purely C matters), software development and many platform specific and system development problems.

Experience

My career started in the mid 1980s working as a batch process operator for the now defunct Inner London Education Authority, working on Prime mini computers. I then moved into the role of Programmer / Analyst, also on the Primes, then into technical support and finally into the micro computing section, using a variety of 16 and 8 bit machines. Following the demise of the ILEA I worked for a small company, now gone, called Hodos. I worked on a part task train simulator using C and the Intel DVI (Digital Video Interactive) - the hardware based predecessor to Indeo. Other projects included a CGI based train simulator (different goals to the first), and various other projects in C and Visual Basic (er, version 1 that is). When Hodos went into receivership I went freelance and finally managed to start working in C++. I initially had contracts working on train simulators (surprise) and multimedia - I worked on many of the Dorling Kindersley CD-ROM titles and wrote the screensaver games for the Wallace and Gromit Cracking Animator CD. My more recent contracts have been more traditionally IT based, working predominately in C++ on MS Windows NT, 2000. XP, Linux and UN*X. These projects have had wide ranging additional skill sets including system analysis and design, databases and SQL in various guises, C#, client server and remoting, cross porting applications between platforms and various client development processes. I have an interest in the development of the C++ core language and libraries and try to keep up with at least some of the papers on the ISO C++ Standard Committee site at http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg21/.

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