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This Is How To Compile C++ To Develop Windows Software

This Is How To Compile C++ To Develop Windows Software

C++ is subjectively the World’s most powerful programming language and consistently one of top four most popular programming languages. Thanks to its huge range of ready-made variables, functions, methods, namespaces, and libraries it’s the do-anything toolkit that can be used for everything from regular simple apps to low-level operating system drivers, IoT hardware driving, and everything in between. When a user wants to use C++ to develop Windows software, she or he will benefit from investing a very small amount of time in becoming familiar with the functions, features, and shortcuts of a professional IDE. A small effort in that area pays dividends in productivity,

Using a fast and reliable C++ IDE is very important for beginners and professionals alike whether they are developing C++ apps for Windows or any of the other operating systems and targets. In this post we explain the basics of C++ Builder as a guide for beginners.

Let’s start by defining what mean by an IDE and what is a C++ compiler. Then we can create a new C++ project to compile software and we can run it professionally. Here we go,

What is an IDE?

An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software environment that provides a complete set of features for application development – the act of actually writing, compiling and creating programs which become applications. Code is generally written in text format, and you can easily edit or modify your code using text editors like Notepad, Word, and WordPad. For a developer, beginner or professional, however, an IDE is really important because features like highlights, auto code completion and an integrated help system, along with the opportunity to run, test, debug, deploy, merge or transform code on other platforms (multiplatform coding) are also important. All these capabilities require a powerful IDE.

What is a C++ compiler?

A Compiler (C or C++ Compiler, etc.) is a computer program that converts one programming language (i.e. C/C++ codes) written with text into executable machine code with a linker. Such code may not be as fast as assembler code, but the difference in speed is very small because both machine code and compiler-based code in text form are much more compatible with other CPU/GPUs and/or with other Operating Systems when you compile them on a machine. This is one reason why C++ is the fastest and most powerful programming language.

There are two types of programming languages: Interpreted and Non-Interpreted (Compiled). All computers (CPU/GPU) work with machine code (code that can be directly programmed by assembler codes) that tells the computer what to do (exe files are this kind of file). This is the most native and fastest code, but it requires writing many lines for simple things and is hard to generalize for all kinds of machines.

What is the difference between a compiled computer language and an interpreted one?

Compiled languages such as Delphi and C++ convert the high-level programming code into the low-level highly optimized machine-understandable code before the program is even deployed or used. Any mistakes and errors are detected in advance of the program being run since the compiler checks the syntax and correctness of the program as it compiles. Note that this doesn’t mean compiled programs are bug free – just that the code is theoretically correct and free from coding errors like misspelling function names. Most compilers also strip out any code which will never actually be executed by the program. This means there are not likely to be large chunks of program which do nothing and never get called. This doesn’t happen for interpreted languages.

Interpreted programming languages run inside special runtime host applications like Java, Python, or Visual Basic which convert the program code at the time the user runs it from the high-level programming language into the executable machine code. This is why they are slower when executing operations, as they need to use compiled libraries for faster operations. Again, they mostly use C/C++ compilers to build these libraries. Using an interpreted programming language is like being carried by a runner, while a compiled (non-interpreted) programming language is like running itself. This subtle difference turns into a huge gap when you run the same routine millions of times a millisecond such as real-time analysis of data.

If you need a compiler for Windows 10 and 11, C++ Builder IDE and Compiler is the best choice for a modern and professional software and IDE.

What is The RAD Studio C++ Builder IDE?

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C++ Builder is the easiest and fastest C and C++ IDE for building simple or professional applications on the Windows, macOS, iOS & Android operating systems. It is also easy for beginners to learn with its wide range of samples, tutorials, help files, and LSP support for code. C++ Builder comes with Rapid Application Development Studio, also known as RAD Studio, and C++ Builder is one of the most professional IDE’s that work under RAD Studio. It is the oldest IDE (it began as Borland TurboC in 1990 and was later renamed Borland C++ Builder). Under the Embarcadero brand, multiple new versions have been release, year upon year, along with great new features, updates, and support to ensure that your apps can stay current. RAD Studio’s C++ Builder version comes with the award-winning VCL framework for high-performance native Windows apps and the powerful FireMonkey (FMX) framework for cross-platform UIs. There is a free C++ Builder Community Edition for students, beginners, and startups.

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More details about C++ Builder & RAD Studio for the beginners can be found in Official Wiki of Rad Studio.

How can I create a new C++ project?

C++ Builder greets you with a Welcome Screen. You can create a new project by using File->New menu on the top. By using this menu. You can create a new Windows VCL Application in C++ Builder with VCL framework or a new MultiDevice Application in C++ Builder with FireMonkey framework or you can create a Console Application in C++. There are more options to develop more professional static, dynamic libraries.

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When you create a project this will create a Project source code file and a Unit which has a visual window. Your project will have .bpr, .cpp, PCH.h files, this project also includes two more .cpp and .h units. You can start designing your app with this ready-made unit as launching point, adding your own code by modifying these Unit files and its .h header. You can add more Units with new .cpp and .h files in your project.

How can I compile a new C++ project?

You can compile and build your executable project from the Project menu of RAD Studio. Simply you can compile and run your code by pressing F9 or Run button on the top bar. More professionally, you can build unit by pressing Alt+F9, you can make a project by pressing Ctrl+F9, and you can build project by pressing Shift+F9 in C++ Builder.

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In brief, here are some short-cuts,

F9Compile and Run Project
Shift + F9Build (Compile and Create Executable) Project
Ctrl + F9Make Project
Alt + F9Build Active Unit of the Project

How can I run and test a compiled C++ project?

Run your code by pressing F9 or Run button on the top bar. If you don’t want to debug, you can use Shift+Ctrl+F9 keys to Run Without Debugging or use the menu. There is a Stop and Pause button if you want to stop/pause your application or if your code is in loop. On the run time you can use debug, break points, watch variables and many other runtime features.

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In brief, here are the options to run your project,

F9Compile and Run Project
Shift + Ctrl + F9Run Project Without Debugging
F4Run to Cursor at Code Line

C++ programming language create executable file (application, app) of your project. Another running application method is go to your project folder,

  • If you are in Debugging Mode in 32bits; go to Debug folder, and Win32
  • If you are in Debugging Mode in 64bits; go to Debug folder, and Win64
  • If you are in Release Mode in 32bits; go to Release folder, and Win32
  • If you are in Release Mode in 64bits; go to Release folder, and Win64

and double click your executable project file to run.

What are the various parts and features of a good C+ IDE?

C++ Builder IDE has mainly 5 Parts, the Code Editor Window and Form Designer, Projects Window, Palette Window, Structure Window, Object Inspector Window. You can find more , less commonly used windows from the main IDE menu as well as the right-click context menus. All the basic sections can be summarized in this IDE picture;

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Now let’s explain each of these areas shown above.

1.The Code Editor and Form Designer: The Code Editor and the Form Designer occupy the center pane of the IDE window. The Code Editor is a full-featured, customizable UTF8 editor that provides syntax highlighting, multiple undo capability and context-sensitive help for language elements. You can switch between them by using F12 or from lower tabs in IDE. As you design the user interface for your application, RAD Studio generates the underlying code. When you modify object properties, your changes are automatically reflected in the source files.

2. The Project Window : The Project Window displays and organizes the contents of your current project group and any project it contains. You can perform many important project management tasks, such as adding, removing, and compiling files. The default location of the Projects window is the upper right corner of the IDE, but the window is dockable, as are many windows in the IDE

3. The Tool Palette Window: The Tools Palette Window has UI elements, components that can be used in application UI design, it assists with a new project, adds components to a form, or adds code snippets to the Code Editor.

4. The Structure Window: The Structure View Window displays a tree diagram that shows the hierarchy of elements in the active window (that is, the Code Editor or the Form Designer)

5. The Object Inspector Window: The Object Inspector is used to examine and edit the properties and events for the currently selected object or objects. Every design object (Components, UI Elements) can be edited by clicking on it then setting its properties and events in the Object Inspector Window.

Compiling & Running C++ Codes :You can Compile and Run your code by pressing F9 or Run button on the top bar. You can use other Run Without Debugging. There is a Stop and Pause button if your code is in loop. On the run time you can use debug, break points, watch variables and many other runtime features.

Switching between the Design and Code View: You can press F12 to switch between the Code Editor and Form Designer. The latest C++ Builder also allows you to use both of them together in the same screen. You can switch code, header and design view from the bottom top bars.

Switching Between the Code Files: You can use tabs on the top to switch between .c or .cpp files and .h headers.

How do I use the form designer in the RAD Studio C++ Builder IDE?

C++ Builder, RAD Studio is the easiest and fastest C and C++ IDE for building simple or professional applications. One of the great feature is its Designer which is full of a rich toolset of many new features. You can easily add new visual UI elements which are called as Components. Just choose a component, i.e Button (TButton), Edit (TEdit), Memo (TMemo), Label (TLabel), etc. from the Palette Windows you want to use and drag on to your form design. When you click on a component you can drag them to a new position or you can change its width height and corner positions by pressing blue squares around it. When you do this it will guide you with lines to show make it aligned with other component edges.

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Every component may have different properties or events. You can check them and you can change their properties manually by clicking on them and using Object Inspector. Some components generate their basic events in the code editor automatically. For example you can double click the Button to write your “button click” code (that is executed when the user clicks on the button) inside it. This concept of “code behind” is key to how C++ Builder works and is central to how easy it is to write really great, visually stunning C++ programs with it.

Where can I find more C++ examples for beginners?

Please visit LearnCPlusPlus.org for many modern and simple examples in Introduction To C++ section. We highly recommend you Hello World examples in C++ to begin.

Where can I download C++ Builder or RAD Studio IDE for free?

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You can download the free C++ Builder Community Edition here: https://www.embarcadero.com/products/cbuilder/starter.

Professional developers can use the Professional, Architect or Enterprise versions of C++ Builder. Please visit https://www.embarcadero.com/products/cbuilder where you will find a free trial available.

The latest new posts, more examples and tutorials can be found at this dynamic C++ link for blogs.embarcadero.com and on the dedicated C++ site LearnCPlusPlus.org which is a great totally free resource packed full of articles where you can easily improve and expand your C++ programming knowledge and skills.

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About author

Dr. Yilmaz Yoru has 35+ years of coding with more than 30+ programming languages, mostly C++ on Windows, Android, Mac-OS, iOS, Linux, and some other operating systems. He graduated and received his MSc and PhD degrees from the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Eskisehir Osmangazi University. He is the founder and CEO of ESENJA LLC Company. His interests are Programming, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Artificial Intelligence, 2D & 3D Designs, and high-end innovations.

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