Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

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#1 jadedjeanne  Icon User is offline

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Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Post icon  Posted 13 June 2007 - 11:49 PM

I'm a new computer science student and our professor asked me to install "turbo c" on my computer so that I can practice at home but based on my experience of trying to get into linux, i figured that there are probably lots of versions to choose from so thought I should do some research first. I found this site [http://www.codegear.com/en/products/turbo] and now I don't what to do.

Because the only experience that I have with coding was a Chemistry and computer applications class four years ago (I don't remember anything from that class at all) the web page I mentioned might as well be written in the language of the birds or something because I don't understand anything. I just need help in choosing which one to get.

Based on everything I've read so far I'm thinking of getting:

Visual basic and a book about it so that I can at least familiarize myself a little with reading code(because it seems that someone with a lot of patience can learn to use it even without the help on someone's professor) and then move on to turbo C++ (not delphi or turbo c#).

Does this sound right?

And can anyone recommend a good C++ and visual basic book to buy? Something that a total beginner can understand. I would really appreciate your help. Thank you.


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Replies To: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

#2 GWatt  Icon User is online

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 14 June 2007 - 05:26 AM

I would recommend Dev-C++ if you're running Windows. It's an easy environment to work in. As for programming resources, I usually rely on the web to find stuff out.
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#3 Topher84  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 14 June 2007 - 05:47 AM

View PostGWatt, on 14 Jun, 2007 - 05:26 AM, said:

I would recommend Dev-C++ if you're running Windows. It's an easy environment to work in. As for programming resources, I usually rely on the web to find stuff out.


If you are in your schools CS department i would check with your professor and see if they have a MSDNAA which is an academic alliance with Microsoft and you get Visual Studios 2005 PRO free of charge. As far as books go...(in my personal opinion) you aren't going to learn much from reading a book. Programming is like anything else in that it is going to take lots of patience and PRACTICE to understand. Simply readnig a book may give you a concept or a new way of looking at something but isn't necesarily going to make you a better programmer. There are plenty of FREE resources on the net and there is really no book that you need to buy.

This post has been edited by Topher84: 14 June 2007 - 05:50 AM

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#4 Amadeus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 14 June 2007 - 06:02 AM

Best c++ book ever: :)

http://www.research....om/~bs/3rd.html
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#5 Topher84  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 14 June 2007 - 06:23 AM

View PostAmadeus, on 14 Jun, 2007 - 06:02 AM, said:




Thats a pretty sweet book.. i've never seen an intro book that covered STL topics!
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#6 William_Wilson  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 14 June 2007 - 06:39 AM

i agree with the MSDNAA, my school has such a setup and i was able to get a free copy of VS2005 pro and standard. I am yet to install pro, after the many problems standard gave me. Dev-C++ is what i'm using now.
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#7 m2s87  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 14 June 2007 - 06:44 AM

Here is my explenation how one would get semi-pro programmer in really short time.

Probably a good start would be learning standard C.

good place to start reading would be one of the following:
1. http://en.wikibooks....i/Programming:C
2. http://computer.hows...works.com/c.htm

Now when you have read them, you should have some basics on how strings work, how do you manipulate with pointers, basic structure of program, how to manipulate program flow, how to daclare and use types and how to convert data from 1 type to another.

Now it would be a good time to start writing some simple terminal programs, that use IO and convert, calculate or analyse given data. Pay attantion on writting well structure and commented programs.

So about if your really trieng it will take you about:
1 day - to read the text and understand what has been tould
2 days - to write/rewrite/fix your simple programs

By now you probably know how to write some simple program, but learning how dyanmic memory allocation, linked lists, sorting, binary trees work, will enable you to understand and do a lot more.

Now write programs that use features explained before.

So about if your really trieng, it will take you about, alot more then you think:
0-1 day - to read the text and understand what has been tould
1-14 days - to write/rewrite/fix your programs

By now you have intermediate skills in C standard use. Its time to move on C++. Well C < C++, and you can check how much did you really gashp on learning C.

Once again go to wiki:
1. http://en.wikibooks....%2B_Programming

Learn classes, operator overloding, typecastig and exeption handeling. Now it is time to test your knowlage. Pay attention on the small diffrences in C and C++.

So about if your really trieng it will take you about:
1 day - to read the text and understand what has been tould
2 days - to write/rewrite/fix your simple programs

Now, it is time for OOP! You can use qt3/qt4 or use VC++ IDE inviroment if you are the user of windows. It is not hard to understand new features like Drag&Drop or Events.

Write some few simple programs, that do something useful for you:
1. Alternative knote/notepad
2. Calculator
3. Tic Tac Toe

It could take about 20 min - 8 hours depanding on your skills and how well do you document the programs.

Now you can call yourself at least newb programmer.

Now you need to learn how to use a XML and databases. Prefarebly learn XML first and then switch on SQL.

Write 2-3 small programs that stores data in databases, something like:
1. ToDo list
2. Bookshell organiser
3. Picture album organiser

So about if your really trieng, it will take you about
1 - 14 hours - to write/rewrite/fix your programs
1 hour - to update and add fancy features

Now you need to learn how to use a HTML & internet.

Read all that you think it is nessesay in
* http://w3schools.com/

After you have finished that, build yourself a homepage for a test of skills.

Now learn how to tansport data over internet in C and C++, how CGI works, how php works. Make your homepage an database implementation.

Now you can call yourself at least intermediate programmer.

Learn how graphics works (difference in raster&vector). Learn how to generate/manipulate graphics in C and/or C++. Learn basics on 3D and make a very small game in 2D or 3D.

Now add sound, highscore tables, p2p gaming.

Now start attending Internet or Real World universites, learning programming as major. After 1'st year you probably might have skills to get a job as a programmer. And after 1-3 projects you can call yourself a semi-pro programmer.

Well i guess it was more like a tutorial how to be a programmer, but in light of it, it answered your question ^^
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#8 Trogdor  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 14 June 2007 - 06:55 AM

good post m2s87, you should make a pinned thing somewhere from this.

to get back to the subject: if your professor asks you to install turbo C, then better look for that. Or ask him where to obtain it. the differences can be nasty.

If on the other hand you are free to use whatever C/C++ you want, well i see you have a sweet litle apple logo in your avatar corner. On the mac you have the XCode development environment.
Its for free (with a mac), integrated, and comes with a lot (too much realy) documentation on advanced topics.
You can download it from apple.com if you dont have it yet. (it is not preinstalled)
Give it a shot.
Perhaps read a bit in one of those books or sites suggested above and then try out the terminal-application project of xcode.

This post has been edited by Trogdor: 14 June 2007 - 07:00 AM

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#9 Great Cthulhu  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 14 June 2007 - 07:14 AM

If your prof asked you to install Turbo C, I'm assuming it's because you will be learning C, correct? If so, you can go with Dev-C++ or Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition. Both are free and easy to install (on Windows). Of course, if you have a Mac, then Trogdor's suggestion might be the way to go. (C++ compilers also compile C programs, in case that's confusing.) If you have the option to go with Visual Studio 2005 Pro like Topher84 suggested, then I'd take that over the other two. It includes MS Visual C++ (mentioned above) and is a great application. Of course, it's always a good idea to try out more than one compiler, so you should think about getting Dev-C++ some day anyway. Visual Basic is a different language, so unless you have the option of choosing your language, I'd stick with a C/C++ compiler for now. Trying to learn two different languages at the same time will be too confusing unless you already have a good grasp of the basics. If you're daunted by program code and you can choose your language, though, Visual Basic might be a better choice for you, as your intuitions suggest.

As far as books vs. online research goes, I'm going to differ a little with Topher84. I think that both are important and do different things. Online research is great for finding answers to very specific programming problems which books very often are not capable of handling, but learning a programming language online via tutorials leaves something to be desired. Books provide depth and breadth of coverage and are definitely the way to go if you are learning a new language, especially if you don't know any other languages. Most books offer a lot of "meat-and-potatoes" to help you round out your understanding of a new concept, something that web sites are notoriously lacking in for the most part. Online tutorials are great for giving you a few fundamental basics in a short span of time, but understanding usually comes from repeated exposure and rumination. Learning how to program is a lot like learning how to write or paint, so you shouldn't rush into it expecting to learn how to do everything in "24 hours". I use both books and online resources, but I prefer books for learning a new topic. I use the forums to answer the questions that the books don't cover.

Having said that, I think you probably want to go with a "for beginners"-style book to get you up to speed quickly in the fundamentals of programming. Books like Stroustrup's C++ Programming Language and Kernighan and Ritchie's C Programming Language are great books if you already have some experience programming, but are not good books for beginners. (Sorry, Amadeus.) Stick with Sams Teach Yourself...in 21 Days or Prata's ...Primer Plus books, for now. They won't cover every nitty-gritty detail, but you're not ready for that anyway. And keep in mind that C and C++ are different languages. If your course work is based on C, get a C book; otherwise, go with C++. C++ is the de facto industry standard for large commercial application software, whereas C is more low-level, and is used more often in system applications and embedded systems these days. Generally speaking, you will learn more modern software design principles learning C++, and more about hardware resources and limitations learning C. Hope that helps.
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#10 Amadeus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 14 June 2007 - 07:32 AM

View PostGreat Cthulhu, on 14 Jun, 2007 - 10:14 AM, said:

Books like Stroustrup's C++ Programming Language and Kernighan and Ritchie's C Programming Language are great books if you already have some experience programming, but are not good books for beginners. (Sorry, Amadeus.)

No worries...I would agree for the most part, although I did learn C with K&R as my primary resource. :)

But it's been a long time since I was a beginner.
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#11 jadedjeanne  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 14 June 2007 - 09:41 AM

Hey guys, thanks a lot for your suggestions. Now that I think about it, he kept saying C a lot and not C++ but then again he is kind of hard to understand when he is speaking in English (he kept substituting the word "competency" for "competition" for some reason. He was saying something about only 1 out of 10 IT students succeed in getting good careers in Information Technology and then he says "There is a competency. Malakas (strong) yung competency" and I was like "huh?". I had to write down everything he said so that I could translate them when I got home.) so I'd better ask him which one he meant.

I think I am going to get the Visual Studio 2005 Pro because we will probably use that later anyway. I'll ask him if I can use Dev C++ instead of turbo C since, from what I understand, we can use it to do C programs as well. And, since it's free and runs on windows, they'll probably let me install it in the computer at school.

I'd love to just use xcode but I doubt that they'll let me use my mac at school so if I use it I'll probably end up using 2 different programs and I think it's better to use just one thing while I'm still learning the basics but I'll probably end up using it when I'm making my own programs already because it runs in OSX.

I'll use m2s87's post as an advance study guide so that I can keep up with my professor in case I have trouble understanding what he's saying. He seems to be really good at programming. He just speaks English in a way that's alien to me and I'd hate to offend him by suggesting that he just speak in Filipino.

I'll look for those Beginner's books right away because I went to 2 bookstores this morning and I didn't find any of them so I may have to special-order them.

Thanks a lot guys. I really appreciate the help. I'm a little terrified of programming because I really didn't understand anything when they taught us Pascal programming in high school. but I didn't really listen then nor did I try to study on my own. I hope that a lot of effort will at least get me to the point where I can at least pass the subject.

I'll get the bjarne stroustrup book later when I'm confident that I already have an idea of what I'm doing and I'm sure we will end up studying C++ too, eventually.

This post has been edited by jadedjeanne: 14 June 2007 - 09:47 AM

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#12 skyhawk133  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 14 June 2007 - 09:45 AM

Pinned, and featured. Excellent posts.
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#13 Topher84  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 14 June 2007 - 10:23 AM

Very helpful posts.. I wish I would have had some resources like this when i started programming! I completely forgot about the express editions.

Link to Express Editions:
http://msdn.microsof...ss/default.aspx

Once again make sure to check for MSDNAA! I know at my college we can get Vista/Visual Studios/XP/SQL and just about ANY Microsoft product other than office for free.. and even then MS is traveling around to schools giving demos of their new office/os and they will give you a copy of office 07 and vista for free if u go!

Random Programming Paste Site
-This is an EXCELLENT site if you are going to be working in a group over the net or are requesting help with some code. You can choose your language and it will color code everything for u and even give line numbers... VERY useful for me at least!
http://rafb.net/paste

Reference Sites:
http://www.cplusplus.com/
http://www.cppreference.com/
**you can try wikipedia but ive never really gotten much useful info from it in terms of actual coding help. The information they have on sorting algorithms is fairly decent and may prove to be of some help but that is about all i've found one there

This post has been edited by Topher84: 14 June 2007 - 10:38 AM

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#14 galihku  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 15 July 2007 - 04:10 AM

:D [font=Arial Black][size=7][size=6][i]
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#15 ajay012003  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which language should I learn first and which program should I buy?

Posted 15 July 2007 - 05:18 AM

View PostGWatt, on 14 Jun, 2007 - 05:26 AM, said:

I would recommend Dev-C++ if you're running Windows. It's an easy environment to work in. As for programming resources, I usually rely on the web to find stuff out.




Sir I want to make the Array programm how can it is possible plz send me a programming of array type.[code]
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