I've Been Dipping My Toes

Thursday, May 30 2002

I’ve been dipping my toes into C++ development here and there for a while, but I’ve never really taken a running cannon ball into the deep end. One of the things that’s slowed me down is what I see as the shear complexity of it. I don’t even know where to begin. Microsoft doesn’t make it much easier by having several languages rolled into their development software


Well, tonight I found a great program to do C++ development in. It’s an IDE (for those who aren’t into programming, an IDE is code for Integrated Development Environment, which is fancy talk for a text editor with nice gizmos) with a built in compiler. Actually, it’s not built in, but the installer installs a custom version of the GCC compiler, which is a free compiler. The IDE is called Bloodshed DevC++. The program is pretty small (under 10MB) unlike Microsoft’s environment which comes on several CD’s.

This development environment frees me up from a lot of concerns I have about compiling. It makes things a lot simpler, and let’s me focus on learning the code. While C++ still seems big to me, it’s smaller now that I have a streamlined development environment to work with.

I’m not the type who bashes someone over the head claiming that Linux and Open Source is the way to go. I usually prefer using software that gets the job done, whether it costs money, is free, or is written on napkins before being transcribed into digital form. Lately though, I’ve been running across a lot of fast, small, well written and solid programs, and I’m beginning to get the feeling that the big boys like Microsoft (and most other large software vendors) are losing me to small independent shops. Pretty soon, aside from my OS, I could be 100% Microsoft free. The only reason I stick with the MS OS is that I know it well, and it works for me. That’s not to say I couldn’t feel just as comfortable on another OS, only time will tell.

A former coworker and I used to argue about whether or not Microsoft truly had/has a monopoly or not, and my argument was “No.” He had a hard time dealing with that, what with government rulings and such. I explained to him that because I have a choice of what software I use, Microsoft, in my opinion, didn’t/doesn’t have a monopoly, and finding good software written by completely independent developers supports that argument for me. His points were somewhat valid too, but not so much to sway me.