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C++ programming help, (I know, its off-topic, but...)

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Greetings and sorry to bug all of you but I was wondering if anyone could spare a couple of minutes to help a newbie in a completely (or anyways almost completely) un-related topic. I have recently began to develop an interest for programming, and purchased a c++ compiler, and linker. However, I have had tons of trouble actually getting this thing going, and I think it may something to do with the header file(s).

Well I have a Borland compiler/linker; version 5.00. I need to familiarize myself with the layout and such, and the Borland help doesn't help me at all because I am unresponsive to that stuff. Basically, I am about as new as they come to c++ and Borland tries to start you at an intermediate level in their training.

I suspect Steve and Charles are too busy to respond, but I would assume that there is at least one other knowledgable individual who has a kind heart on this forum. Instead of subjecting the entire CM community to this crap, you can contact me at:


I hope to hear from someone soon, thanks.

P.S.:Was CM programmed using C++ ?

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Guest Rollstoy

Gen, what exactly do you mean with "old language"?

I am teaching myself (Visual) C++ right now and I would sure be disappointed if my investment (i.e. free time) was an improper one. In fact I cannot think of anything that C++ cannot provide. On the other hand I do not know anything about the concepts behind Java. Is it less complicated? Does it have the same features like C++ (operator overloading, for example)? Does it run only on Browsers?! Is it interpreted (browser?!) or compiled or both?!

One thing that I have realized is that the creation of applications for Windows seems to be a quite complex undertaking (MFC)! And it is a very important design decision whether you go for a simple console interface (fast, compatible - does this sound familiar smile.gif), or go into Windows programming. I will try the latter, but I am aware of the overhead I will have to provide for my application, something that maybe will not provide the desired return of investment (at least in number crunching applications).

At the time being you have to be very conscious about the programming strategy you pursue. Integrated applications like Office 2000 offer myriads of possibilities, but one has to be aware that the next version change can ruin all investments in the current technology. With every added level of complexity the risk of incompatibilities is higher.

I had this happen to me once with a Excel 5.0 based spreadsheet with an underlying VB program. I simply could not restore the functionality in higher Excel versions, and t was a fairly simple project! Very disillusioning!

Facit of this monologue: K.I.S.S. (keep it simple and stupid!).



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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ghengis Jim:

However, I have had tons of trouble actually getting this thing going, and I think it may something to do with the header file(s).

Well I have a Borland compiler/linker; version 5.00. I need to familiarize myself with the layout and such, and the Borland help doesn't help me at all because I am unresponsive to that stuff. Basically, I am about as new as they come to c++ and Borland tries to start you at an intermediate level in their training.


Umm, I think you're trying to launch straight into windows programming without learning about C++ True/False?

Easiest way to start is setup a console (read DOS) application and do some REAL basic stuff like file I/O, String manipulation etc, etc...

You can go over all of the major C++ programming concepts without ever touching windows (or MAC OS).

It'd pay to get a book so you can learn about C++. You'll need another book to do the windows programming smile.gif

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I am currently a student and geting pretty heavy into C programming, with this I'm also dabbling in C++. I reccomend a book called " Sam's Teach Yourself C in 21 Days"

Java is also a derivative of C as is C++. By the time I'm finished I will be adept with all three :P

I also find that visual C++ is a good IDE. As stated above choose the Windows Console APP selection for your project, that way youc an do some basic stuff in C++



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This is very offtopic, but I want to give a few hints.

First, I don't think anybody should try to learn C++ as first programming language. The language is simply too huge for that. As my teaching assistant put it a couple of years ago: "C gives you enough rope to hang yourself. C++ gives you enough rope to make rigging on an old clipper and you still have enough left to hang your whole family and dog, too".

I'd suggest that you try some simpler language first. I've heard that Python is a nice language for beginners (I haven't studied it myself). Another good candidate is Scheme though some say that it has way too much parenthesis. (I learned programming with Scheme, using Abelson&Sussman's excellent "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs")

Some people say that Java is a good first language but I disagree on that. Sure it looks simpler than C or C++ but it has its idiocies. In particular, the way that everything is an object, except those things that are not, annoys me.

- Tommi

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by tss:

"C gives you enough rope to hang yourself. C++ gives you enough rope to make rigging on an old clipper and you still have enough left to hang your whole family and dog, too". <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Lol! I heard another version of this: "With C it's easy to shoot yourself in the foot. With C++ it's not so easy to shoot yourself in the foot but, if you do, you blow your whole leg off".

Seeing as you've already got the compiler, you might as well have a bash at it. I'd start with something like "C++ for Dummies" and see how you get on with that first.

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Python is a sweet language. Interpreted at runtime, it "compiles" to bytecode that is transportable between Unix, Windows, etc. You can install Python, the use it as your scripting language for Web code.

Open sourced (if you dare), not many of the intricacies of other languages (curly braces??? what curly braces?), straight forward to learn, easy to read.

We use it here at work.

And you have got to love a language named after Monty Python's Flying Circus...

[This message has been edited by Herr Oberst (edited 09-20-2000).]

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Holdit wrote:

I'd start with something like "C++ for Dummies" and see how you get on with that first.

I'd say that is a _bad_ idea. If you are going to teach yourself something as complex as C++, you should start with a good, complete, and, most importantly, up-to-date book. Quickly browsing throuh http://www.accu.org book review sections I found only four modern C++ books that were recommended to beginners (I've read only Stroustrup (very good, but heavy) so I can't comment on the others):

- C++ Primer 3rd ed by Josee Lajoie & Stanley B Lippman

- C++ Primer Answer Book by Bruce Leung & Clovis Tondo

- C++ Programming Language 3rd ed, The by B Stroustrup

- C++ Solutions - Companion to The C++ Programming Language Third Edition by David Vandevoorde


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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by tss:

I'd say that is a _bad_ idea. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You could well be right. I mentioned it because I've just done a course in basic C++ and I got that book to use as an extra reference, and I like the way it's written. Nothing too heavy to start off with.

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If you can get Microsoft Visual C++ say version 5 or 6 go with that and forget Borland. Thrust me on this...

A lot of games gets developed actually in Visual C++ and I think this compiler has the best support for Win32 on PC, my personal point of view of course...


PS: Borland 5.0 isn't just worth the trouble

and the pain to deal with it... if you

still want to stick with Borland go with

Borland C++ Builder...

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A few points, in no particular order:

I think Java is overrated.

Back when I was in college, I took a CS class that surveyed several programming languages. The instructor said something like this: "Pascal is sort of like the family station wagon; it'll get you where you're going, but it's not particularly stylish. Ada is like a really really big station wagon that gets horrible gas mileage and the A/C doesn't work [this was back in the early days of Ada]. C is like a stripped-down, bare metal hotrod with no seatbelts and no muffler. And Smalltalk [an early object-oriented language] is like ... a hovercraft, just totally different from all the others."

As far as developing proficiency with C++, let me recommend two books by Scott Meyers: Effective C++ and More Effective C++ (both Addison Wesley). They're small and written in an easily accessible style, and are chock-full of information any C++ programmer shouldknow (although many don't). I wouldn't start out with them necessarily, as they assume you are reasonably familiar with the basic structures of the language, but they contain lots of sound advice on things you shoulddo and things you shouldn'tdo when writing C++ programs, along with clear explanations of why.


Leland J. Tankersley

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I went the Pascal->C->C++ route. Taught myself Java, Javascript, VB & VBScript, Delphi (Object Pascal). And I think for your very first programming language you should take a quick class at the local community college (most of them around here have the intro language as Java , Pascal, or C). After that if you want some really fast learning take your 1 class and find a job (trust me, it ain't hard people are DESPERATE in the states for anything IT). After the first month of the job you'll be set, after you learn one programming language learning a multitude of others is easy since you are just learning the concepts and you leave the coding details to the very end (I rarely remember syntax right at the beginning when I switch to a new language, I leave syntax to the reference guides, help files, and the web).

*IF* you find a good teacher (always a big if) at college learning is easy.

Well anyways that is what worked for me. Got my first job right after I learned Pascal.


Veni, vidi, panzerschrecki

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C++ is a better langugage to use for a first language than C is.

Using the C++ Standard Library, with such nice classes as string, vector, map, and the like, a novice programmer, without really knowing the guys behind them, can put together a data-structure manipulating program in a fraction of the time that it would take them to understand C-style strings and arrays.

For the best example of this approach, look at Lippman and Lajoie's C++ Primer. That's an excellent book.

In my opinion, teachers who teach C as a prerequiste to knowing C++ are just making more work for themselves.

Now, that said, to become really proficient in C++, you're going to have learn about that stuff.

The main thing that people don't seem to get is that C++ is a multi-paradigm language. Structured programming? Sure! Object Oriented programming? Sure! Generic programming? Sure!

Now, other languages may be better at one of these areas, but I can't think of any other language that supports such a wide range of programming models.

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Moving right into Javascript...I'm starting at the bottom. Taught myself HTML, very easy. Now I'm working on Javascript and it's considerably harder. I've read a few tutorials on the web but they didn't help much. Bought the O'Reilly book and although it's a good reference guide, the author does an awful job of explaining Javascript to a newbie.

Can anyone recommend a thourough Javascript book that covers the language well for someone who has almost no programming experience?

Also, how much harder is it to learn C as opposed to Javascript?


Everything in moderation...except CM.

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Ghengis Jim

Make sure the UI knows where the header files are. This is important if this is a second hand install (Not from the original disks or CD). I don't have a pc with Borland near me right now to check where to point. Look in the options or enviroment pulldowns.

On the topic of which to learn first C or C++, well thats tough.

C typicaly will be very structured and C++ of course is intened to be object driven. Two real different schools of though. Ive got fellow programmers who swear both ways. But I honestly beleive you need both, as it is determined by the needs of the end application.


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Old or new doesn't matter. Choose the right tool for the right job. C and C++ compile to executable - that means that they run fast. Java compiles to interpreted byte code - it runs slow but is machine independent. Writing a server, use C or C++. Writing a web app, java is probably better.

Also, C++ compilers compile ANSI C just fine. IMHO you should learn the basics of C and then go to C++. First, learning all of that OO B.S. isn't going to do squat for you if you don't know how to use a pointer. Second, ANSI C is a subset of C++ so almost everything that you learn will still apply. Knowing C++ without knowing C is like knowing how to use a toilet without knowing how to unzip your pants.

My personal opinion about C vs C++:

I like C for lower level routines and very simple libraries. I like C++ for higher level code that is more naturally expressed as an object. Contrary to what people say both C "functional style" programming and C++ object oriented are still very useful.

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I just had to post this here. Please note that this is a joke.

On the 1st of January, 1998, Bjarne Stroustrup: gave an interview to the IEEE's 'Computer' magazine.

Naturally, the editors thought he would be giving a retrospective

view of seven years of object-oriented design, using the language

he created.

By the end of the interview, the interviewer got more than he had

bargained for and, subsequently, the editor decided to suppress its

contents, 'for the good of the industry' but, as with many of these

things, there was a leak.

Here is a complete transcript of what was was said, unedited, and

unrehearsed, so it isn't as neat as planned interviews.

You will find it interesting...


Interviewer: Well, it's been a few years since you changed the

world of software design, how does it feel, looking back?

Stroustrup: Actually, I was thinking about those days, just before

you arrived. Do you remember? Everyone was writing 'C'

and, the trouble was, they were pretty damn good at it.

Universities got pretty good at teaching it, too. They were

turning out competent - I stress the word 'competent' -

graduates at a phenomenal rate. That's what caused the


Interviewer: Problem?

Stroustrup: Yes, problem. Remember when everyone wrote Cobol?

Interviewer: Of course, I did too

Stroustrup: Well, in the beginning, these guys were like demi-gods.

Their salaries were high, and they were treated like royalty.

Interviewer: Those were the days, eh?

Stroustrup: Right. So what happened? IBM got sick of it, and

invested millions in training programmers, till they were a

dime a dozen.

Interviewer: That's why I got out. Salaries dropped within a year,

to the point where being a journalist actually paid better.

Stroustrup: Exactly. Well, the same happened with 'C' programmers.

Interviewer: I see, but what's the point?

Stroustrup: Well, one day, when I was sitting in my office, I

thought of this little scheme, which would redress the

balance a little. I thought 'I wonder what would happen, if

there were a language so complicated, so difficult to learn,

that nobody would ever be able to swamp the market with

programmers? Actually, I got some of the ideas from X10,

you know, X windows. That was such a bitch of a graphics

system, that it only just ran on those Sun 3/60 things.

They had all the ingredients for what I wanted. A really

ridiculously complex syntax, obscure functions, and

pseudo-OO structure. Even now, nobody writes raw X-windows

code. Motif is the only way to go if you want to retain

your sanity.

Interviewer: You're kidding...?

Stroustrup: Not a bit of it. In fact, there was another problem.

Unix was written in 'C', which meant that any 'C' programmer

could very easily become a systems programmer. Remember

what a mainframe systems programmer used to earn?

Interviewer: You bet I do, that's what I used to do.

Stroustrup: OK, so this new language had to divorce itself from

Unix, by hiding all the system calls that bound the two

together so nicely. This would enable guys who only knew

about DOS to earn a decent living too.

Interviewer: I don't believe you said that...

Stroustrup: Well, it's been long enough, now, and I believe most

people have figured out for themselves that C++ is a waste

of time but, I must say, it's taken them a lot longer than I

thought it would.

Interviewer: So how exactly did you do it?

Stroustrup: It was only supposed to be a joke, I never thought

people would take the book seriously. Anyone with half a

brain can see that object-oriented programming is

counter-intuitive, illogical and inefficient.

Interviewer: What?

Stroustrup: And as for 're-useable code' - when did you ever hear

of a company re-using its code?

Interviewer: Well, never, actually, but...

Stroustrup: There you are then. Mind you, a few tried, in the

early days. There was this Oregon company - Mentor

Graphics, I think they were called - really caught a cold

trying to rewrite everything in C++ in about '90 or '91. I

felt sorry for them really, but I thought people would learn

from their mistakes.

Interviewer: Obviously, they didn't?

Stroustrup: Not in the slightest. Trouble is, most companies

hush-up all their major blunders, and explaining a $30

million loss to the shareholders would have been difficult.

Give them their due, though, they made it work in the end.

Interviewer: They did? Well, there you are then, it proves

O-O works.

Stroustrup: Well, almost. The executable was so huge, it took

five minutes to load, on an HP workstation, with 128MB of

RAM. Then it ran like treacle. Actually, I thought this

would be a major stumbling-block, and I'd get found out

within a week, but nobody cared. Sun and HP were only too

glad to sell enormously powerful boxes, with huge resources

just to run trivial programs. You know, when we had our

first C++ compiler, at AT&T, I compiled 'Hello World', and

couldn't believe the size of the executable. 2.1MB

Interviewer: What? Well, compilers have come a long way, since then.

Stroustrup: They have? Try it on the latest version of g++ - you

won't get much change out of half a megabyte. Also, there

are several quite recent examples for you, from all over the

world. British Telecom had a major disaster on their hands

but, luckily, managed to scrap the whole thing and start

again. They were luckier than Australian Telecom. Now I

hear that Siemens is building a dinosaur, and getting more

and more worried as the size of the hardware gets bigger, to

accommodate the executables. Isn't multiple inheritance a joy?

Interviewer: Yes, but C++ is basically a sound language.

Stroustrup: You really believe that, don't you? Have you ever sat

down and worked on a C++ project? Here's what happens:

First, I've put in enough pitfalls to make sure that only

the most trivial projects will work first time. Take

operator overloading. At the end of the project, almost

every module has it, usually, because guys feel they really

should do it, as it was in their training course. The same

operator then means something totally different in every

module. Try pulling that lot together, when you have a

hundred or so modules. And as for data hiding. God, I

sometimes can't help laughing when I hear about the problems

companies have making their modules talk to each other. I

think the word 'synergistic' was specially invented to twist

the knife in a project manager's ribs.

Interviewer: I have to say, I'm beginning to be quite appalled at

all this. You say you did it to raise programmers'

salaries? That's obscene.

Stroustrup: Not really. Everyone has a choice. I didn't expect

the thing to get so much out of hand. Anyway, I basically

succeeded. C++ is dying off now, but programmers still get

high salaries - especially those poor devils who have to

maintain all this crap. You do realise, it's impossible to

maintain a large C++ software module if you didn't actually

write it?

Interviewer: How come?

Stroustrup: You are out of touch, aren't you? Remember the typedef?

Interviewer: Yes, of course.

Stroustrup: Remember how long it took to grope through the header

files only to find that 'RoofRaised' was a double precision

number? Well, imagine how long it takes to find all the

implicit typedefs in all the Classes in a major project.

Interviewer: So how do you reckon you've succeeded?

Stroustrup: Remember the length of the average-sized 'C' project?

About 6 months. Not nearly long enough for a guy with a

wife and kids to earn enough to have a decent standard of

living. Take the same project, design it in C++ and what do

you get? I'll tell you. One to two years. Isn't that

great? All that job security, just through one mistake of

judgement. And another thing. The universities haven't

been teaching 'C' for such a long time, there's now a

shortage of decent 'C' programmers. Especially those who

know anything about Unix systems programming. How many guys

would know what to do with 'malloc', when they've used 'new'

all these years - and never bothered to check the return

code. In fact, most C++ programmers throw away their return

codes. Whatever happened to good ol' '-1'? At least you

knew you had an error, without bogging the thing down in all

that 'throw' 'catch' 'try' stuff.

Interviewer: But, surely, inheritance does save a lot of time?

Stroustrup: Does it? Have you ever noticed the difference between

a 'C' project plan, and a C++ project plan? The planning

stage for a C++ project is three times as long. Precisely

to make sure that everything which should be inherited is,

and what shouldn't isn't. Then, they still get it wrong.

Whoever heard of memory leaks in a 'C' program? Now finding

them is a major industry. Most companies give up, and send

the product out, knowing it leaks like a sieve, simply to

avoid the expense of tracking them all down.

Interviewer: There are tools...

Stroustrup: Most of which were written in C++.

Interviewer: If we publish this, you'll probably get lynched, you

do realise that?

Stroustrup: I doubt it. As I said, C++ is way past its peak now,

and no company in its right mind would start a C++ project

without a pilot trial. That should convince them that it's

the road to disaster. If not, they deserve all they get. You

know, I tried to convince Dennis Ritchie to rewrite Unix in


Interviewer: Oh my God. What did he say?

Stroustrup: Well, luckily, he has a good sense of humor. I think

both he and Brian figured out what I was doing, in the early

days, but never let on. He said he'd help me write a C++

version of DOS, if I was interested.

Interviewer: Were you?

Stroustrup: Actually, I did write DOS in C++, I'll give you a demo

when we're through. I have it running on a Sparc 20 in the

computer room. Goes like a rocket on 4 CPU's, and only

takes up 70 megs of disk.

Interviewer: What's it like on a PC?

Stroustrup: Now you're kidding. Haven't you ever seen Windows '95?

I think of that as my biggest success. Nearly blew the game

before I was ready, though.

Interviewer: You know, that idea of a Unix++ has really got me

thinking. Somewhere out there, there's a guy going to try it.

Stroustrup: Not after they read this interview.

Interviewer: I'm sorry, but I don't see us being able to publish

any of this.

Stroustrup: But it's the story of the century. I only want to be

remembered by my fellow programmers, for what I've done for

them. You know how much a C++ guy can get these days?

Interviewer: Last I heard, a really top guy is worth $70 - $80 an


Stroustrup: See? And I bet he earns it. Keeping track of all the

gotchas I put into C++ is no easy job. And, as I said

before, every C++ programmer feels bound by some mystic

promise to use every damn element of the language on every

project. Actually, that really annoys me sometimes, even

though it serves my original purpose. I almost like the

language after all this time.

Interviewer: You mean you didn't before?

Stroustrup: Hated it. It even looks clumsy, don't you agree? But

when the book royalties started to come in... well, you get

the picture.

Interviewer: Just a minute. What about references? You must

admit, you improved on 'C' pointers.

Stroustrup: Hmm. I've always wondered about that. Originally, I

thought I had. Then, one day I was discussing this with a

guy who'd written C++ from the beginning. He said he could

never remember whether his variables were referenced or

dereferenced, so he always used pointers. He said the

little asterisk always reminded him.

Interviewer: Well, at this point, I usually say 'thank you very

much' but it hardly seems adequate.

Stroustrup: Promise me you'll publish this. My conscience is

getting the better of me these days.

Interviewer: I'll let you know, but I think I know what my editor

will say.

Stroustrup: Who'd believe it anyway? Although, can you send me a

copy of that tape?

Interviewer: I can do that.

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What I mean is this.

The language is showing its age. TO learn a Object oriented language there is no need in rushing out and getting the most complicated language out there. Exactly what are you planning on doing once you learn a language?

The real purpose of learning a Object Oriented language at first is to understand exactly how everything fits together. This is why I say go with Java 2. Not because I think it is better but because it is easier to learn and get the basics imbedded into your head.

Once you have the basics down then you can easily pick up C or C++. If you want to program for games I would say C or C++ is the better option. I would say this though.

With the newest compilers for Java the performance difference is quickly closing.

We have a version of Oracle 8i that was developed with Java.

The advantage of learning Java is it is cross platform. Well at least about 87% cross platform at last count smile.gif I personally dumped the true Object Oriented Languages for what I do.

I work on developing client side programs to manipulate Data bases. I find that VB 6 is the easiest and most flexible for the job. I can whip up a program in a matter of weeks that would probably take me months in Java.

Soon Ill be moving onto better things like ASP. Better pay, and more exciting smile.gif


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If that interview is not a hoax or something like that, it was an interesting read.

I speak only personal experiences here: I taught myself C++ when I was in the college and used it in a project. After I went into the "Business World", I found I rarely have to chance to use C++, if you want to program windows, my bosses tell me to use Visual BASIC.

About Java. It is a dangerous myth (yes it is) about its cross-platform or write-once-run-many capability. I read in 1997 from Computerworld that many Real Life stories about Java is not really a cross platform language.

I would say after writing 2 years of Java it is a pretty good language to learn, write and maintain. You don't have to worry about those pesky pointers but it still have strong typing, strong modular structure. Don't get a illusion, you still get poor Java codes from poor programming practices. Another draw back is the client performance. I am not sure if the new Hot Spot for Clients in JDK 1.3 really shines.


C++ and Javascript are quite different animals. Javascript are mainly used in WWW clients or web servers (Netscape brand of servers to be precise.) It is generally marketed as Server-side Javascript (SSJS) or Livewire Pro.

ASP -- hum, do you mean "Active Server Page"? It is just an API to MS IIS. You can use Java, VBScript, VB, Perl and now C#. I am not sure about C# but I suspect it is yet another can of worms under Microsoft brand.



"+" is just the beginning. Expect to see "GriffinCheng76", "GriffinCheng(105)" or "GriffinChengA3E8" more should Forum problems occur again :(

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Now, I'm working with Visual Basic, C++, and C all at the same time right now, so some observations.

I do software for a company that sells embedded hardware for industrial control. As such, our current product is a DOS-based 386-33 with 4 megs of RAM and 2 megs of space on a flash disk.

We use some 3rd party software to handle all the OS tasks that DOS doesn't do and provide extra functionality that we don't have to write. We have written the program that does everything else -- GUI, communication with external devices, BASIC interpreter, etc, etc, etc, in C++, and it fits happily into around 300KB.

Now, we also have the Windows software that the users of our product use to program the embedded devices and put buttons on the screen, and things like that. Its a little like Visual Basic, but a little more targeted. This program is written an MFC/C++ program. It works pretty well, and C++ has made portions of this program very nice and easy to use.

What I'm currently doing is grafting an ATL/COM interface onto this MFC program so that we can have other guys in the company that aren't into C++ programming write our Wizards (those things that people use to get going) in Visual Basic. I'm adding a bunch of hooks into the application to allow code to perform the same tasks that currently have to be done by a human.

Each langugage is suitable for different things.

As for C#, what Microsoft is going for is a language somewhere between C++ and VB that ties in nicely with COM. Best of both worlds. It seems like a nice language, but I wonder about how many people are going to use it.

And Java. You know, it seems like Java is just finally to start being able to do the things that Sun promised 5 years ago. The JVMs are better, and you're starting to see some pretty hardware designed to execute Java byte code natively. That's pretty cool.

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