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Here are some choices for C/C++ programming environments.  Note that such programming environments change and evolve on a regular basis, so this coverage may become out of date.  You can use this as a starting point, but I encourage you to use the Internet (Google, etc.) to see what is out there, rather than assume that this is the latest word on such matters.

Environment on Rivier College Computers

If you plan on using Rivier College PCs, the standard C/C++ programming environment supplied on Rivier PCs is Microsoft Visual C++.  (Note that this may only be installed on the PCs in the Rivier PC labs.) 

In this case, you do not need to choose another C/C++ environment;  simply use the one provided.  Remember, however, that you should create all your projects and source files on your P: disk, so you can access them from any of Rivier's computers.

Environment on Home or Office Computers

If you plan on using your own computer (home or work), you will need to install an appropriate C/C++ environment on your machine.  

The most obvious choices for C/C++ environments are:

  • Microsoft Visual C++ (Windows only)

    At the time of writing, the latest version is Microsoft Visual C++ 2005.

    While this environment provides everything you need for this course, it is far more than we will need.   Its interface is somewhat complex, and  it contains lots of Windows-specific tools (including the Microsoft Windows GUI programming interface, notably MFC, the Microsoft Foundation Classes, for creating a Windows GUI).  We will not be using any graphical user interface programming in this course.

  • Code::Blocks

    Code::Blocks describes itself as:

    "The open source, cross platform Free C++ IDE."

    It is Open Source, runs on both Windows and Linux, and supports the following compilers:

    • GCC (MingW / Linux GCC)
    • MSVC++
    • Digital Mars
    • Borland C++ 5.5
    • Open Watcom

    I recommend that you download the version that bundles the MingW/Linux GCC (the GNU Compiler Collection), rather than worry about which compiler to use.

  • C-Free

    C-Free is a small, relatively straightforward, C/C++ interactive environment which supports:

    • The MINGW compiler
    • The Ch interpreter

    It appears to be Windows-specific.

    C-Free is shareware, so you should abide by the proper rules regarding its use.  They provide a trial version which expires after 10 launches, and a free version.  Be sure to choose the free version.


This page was last changed on 16 Jan 2006