Re: Seeking recommendation on free or cheap C++ compiler

Le Chaud Lapin <>
Thu, 12 Nov 2009 02:46:55 CST
On Nov 11, 1:31 pm, Michael Aaron Safyan <>

1.) A visual environment is very difficult to automate, whereas
commandline invocations are easy to automate.
2.) Commandline invocations allow your program to be built quickly.
3.) Commandline invocations allow your program to be built

IMO, this is a common misconception regarding IDE's.

I got my start in VMS, then Unix, then Windows, and have been using
Visual Studio since the days of Quick C, and whatever can be done with
using command line, scripts, whatever, I can do that, plus more, with
the IDE.

I have seen that people who make this IDE/command-line argument
typically have not put as much time into the IDE as they have into the
command line [I am not saying you are necessarily one of those people,
Michael]. In any case, after having experienced both methods for at
least 7 years each, there is no way I will revert to using a command
line to manage 50,000-line projects.

For example, I am on the ICU mailing list (, [essentially a String library], and their download
package can be built using both the IDE and the command line. The IDE
build method is simple: there is one file. You load this file into the
IDE, then hit the button labeled "BUILD", and sit back and watch. The
command line system, OTOH, causes world-class programmers from
prominent organizations to issue on average 2-3 emails per day on the
support list struggling to get the large mess of make files and build
scripts to work. The build itself becomes a multi-week effort. One
poster recently claimed 72,000 error using the build scripts.
Naturally, there is always some "workaround", in the form of yet more
scripting, to fix what should never have been broken in the first

To the OP:

The Visual Studio 2008 Express C++ compiler is state of the art.

Think of it as a high-end BMW with nice-to-have premium features like
independent climate control, high-watt audio amp, and heated-back-
massager removed. That's what VS Expres is: less than what you would
get as a paying customer, but still a ~disturbingly~ nice vehicle.

As far as GUI programming goes..I hope you will not be lured into
thinking that there is a panacea in Qt and other kits. What most of
these "cross-platform" kits provide is a (sometimes thin) wrapper
around native OS GUI API. In many cases, you not only have to learn
the wrapper, but when you get stuck, you still need to know a bit
about what's going on under the hood. This is partially a result of
the inextricable awkwardness of underlying GUI architecture on
Windows. Note that the SDK for Qt for Windows is 178MB. The one for
Mac is 0.5GB.

Since you will be doing neural networks, you undoubtely want to draw
your own nets. In that case, I think your ideal combination will the
the compiler above, plus a no-nonsense C++ graphics library that
already comes with Windows, GDI+. IMO, the author of this libary did a
very good job of thinking first, then doing, whereas some of the other
frameworks seem to have grown organically. You will have a slight
learning curve just to get the window up on the screen and process
messages, but once you have done that, you can quickly move to the
part that matters: GDI+.


-Le Chaud Lapin-

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