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C++ Programming Tutorial

Programming in C++ in the Lab

(Or How To Use Visual Studio)

In this lab, we'll be using Visual Studio, a Microsoft product, to program in C++ for the tutorial. (We'll use a different environment for Project Illuminate.)

Visual Studio has many tools for advanced programmers, so we have created streamlined instructions to help you only access the features you need. Those instructions are below. Unfortunately, you'll need to follow them for every program you write in the tutorial, as you'll need to create a new project for each task in the tutorial.

It is very important that you carefully follow each step.

  1. First, click on the Start menu and then click on All Programs. Under All Programs, find Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and click on it. If a dialog box appears, choose General Development Settings.
  2. From the menu in the left-hand column, choose New Project and then choose Win32 Console Application (this just means you are creating an application that runs in Windows and prints to the screen). Name your project, browse to a location on your USB stick, and click OK.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Next, check Empty Project (this will uncheck Precompiled header), and then click Finish. You now have a new project!
  5. Now you'll need to add a source file---this is the file where you type your code. Right click on Source Files, select Add and then New Item.
  6. From the resulting menu, choose C++ File (.cpp), enter a name (this can be the same name as your project) and the .cpp file extension, and click OK.
  7. Add your code.
  8. Once you have finished typing your code, you must compile it, or convert it from the (basically) English version you typed in into the language understood by the machine (which is all 0s and 1s). To compile, press F7. This is also known as building the project. Check the output at the bottom of the window to see if the build was a success. If it was not, see if you can understand and then fix the given errors. If you can't, please ask us! Compiler errors can by cryptic.
  9. Once your program is compiled, you are ready to run (or execute) it. Do this by simultaneously pressing the Ctrl key and F5 (this is often typed as Ctrl-F5). A console window should appear with your output.
  10. Many things can go wrong when you are programming, so please ask for help before you get frustrated!