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Engineering LibreTexts

2.2: Visual Studio Code IDE/MinGW C++ Compiler

  • Page ID
    10241
  • Introduction

    Microsoft and Borland are the two reputable names within the programming world for compilers. They sell compiler software for many programming languages. For the C++ programming language, the Microsoft Visual Studio which includes C++ and Borland C++ Builder are excellent compilers. Often with textbooks or free via the internet; you can get Microsoft’s Visual C++ Express or Borland’s Personal Edition version of a compiler. However, installing either of these compliers can be complex. Microsoft’s Visual Studio compiler often creates a variety of installation problems (such as making sure the operating system and .net components are current) thus making it difficult for students to install at home. These compliers require you to build a project to encompass every program. Using a commercially sold compiler that professional programmers would consider using for project development is fine for professionals but often confusing to beginners. Eventually, if you are going to become a professional programmer, you will need to become familiar with the commercially sold compilers.

    MinGW and Visual Studio Code IDE

     

    MinGW - which stands for "Minimalist GNU for Windows", is a minimalist development environment for native Microsoft Windows applications.

    MinGW provides a complete Open Source programming tool set which is suitable for the development of native MS-Windows applications, and which do not depend on any 3rd-party C-Runtime DLLs. (It does depend on a number of DLLs provided by Microsoft themselves, as components of the operating system; most notable among these is MSVCRT.DLL, the Microsoft C runtime library. Additionally, threaded applications must ship with a freely distributable thread support DLL, provided as part of MinGW itself).

    Visual Studio Code

    Can be installed on Windows, mac OS/x and Linux operating systems. I have it installed on Windows 10 operating system, but it can work with slower processors and most of the current or recent Windows operating system. It only requires about 80 MB of storage space (usually enough for the compiler with all of its files and storage room for several of your programs). It is very easy to install and easy to use.  Does not require the use of a "project"; thus individual source code files can be easily compiled.

     

    Preparation Before Installation

    There are links on the Canvas home page to documents for installation & Configuration for both Windows and Mac OSX systems. Please refer to those documents

    Definition

    Open Source
    Group development of source code for software that is made available to the public at no cost.
    Portability
    The ability to transport software on a flash drive and thus use it on various machines.
    Unique Advantage
    Can be installed and run on a flash drive, thus giving the student the ability to work on their lab assignments on any computer that has a USB port. This can give the student portability, being able to do lab assignments at home, work, library, open lab, classroom, friend’s house, etc.
    Folder
    A named area for storage of documents or other files on a disk drive or flash drive.
    Source Code
    Any collection of statements or declarations written in some human-readable computer programming language.