Chapter 1. Writing Your First C++ Program

In This Chapter

  • Finding out about C++

  • Installing Code::Blocks from the accompanying CD-ROM

  • Creating your first C++ program

  • Executing your program

Okay, so here we are: No one here but just you and me. Nothing left to do but get started. Might as well lay out a few fundamental concepts.

A computer is an amazingly fast but incredibly stupid machine. A computer can do anything you tell it (within reason), but it does exactly what it's told — nothing more and nothing less.

Perhaps unfortunately for us, computers don't understand any reasonable human language — they don't speak English either. Okay, I know what you're going to say: "I've seen computers that could understand English." What you really saw was a computer executing a program that could meaningfully understand English.

Computers understand a language variously known as computer language or machine language. It's possible but extremely difficult for humans to speak machine language. Therefore, computers and humans have agreed to sort of meet in the middle, using intermediate languages such as C++. Humans can speak C++ (sort of), and C++ can be converted into machine language for the computer to understand.

Grasping C++ Concepts

A C++ program is a text file containing a sequence of C++ commands put together according to the laws of C++ grammar. This text file is known as the source file(probably because it's the source of all frustration). A C++ source file normally carries the extension .CPP ...

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