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  C++ Programming Tutorials
Basics of C++

Structure of a program
Variables Data types
Constants
Operators
Basic Input/output

Control Structures
Control Structures
Functions (I)
Functions (II)

Compound Data Types
Arrays
Character Sequences
Pointers
Dynamic Memory
Data Structures
Other Data Types

Object Oriented Programming
Classes [I]
Classes [II]
Friendship & Inheritance
Polymorphism

Advanced Concepts
Templates
Namespaces
Exceptions
Type Casting
Preprocessor Directives

C++ Standard Library
Input/output with Files

Soft Skills
Communication Skills
Leadership Skills
                              .........More

 

 

  

C++ Programming Tutorials


Structure of a program
Probably the best way to start learning a programming language is by writing a program. Therefore, here is our first program:

// my first program in C++

#include <iostream>

using namespace std;
int main ()
{
cout << "Hello TechPreparation!";
return 0;
}
Hello TechPreparation!









The first panel shows the source code for our first program. The second one shows the result of the program once compiled and executed. The way to edit and compile a program depends on the compiler you are using. Depending on whether it has a Development Interface or not and on its version. Consult the compilers section and the manual or help included with your compiler if you have doubts on how to compile a C++ console program.

The previous program is the typical program that programmer apprentices write for the first time, and its result is the printing on screen of the "Hello TechPreparation!" sentence. It is one of the simplest programs that can be written in C++, but it already contains the fundamental components that every C++ program has. We are going to look line by line at the code we have just written:

// my first program in C++
This is a comment line. All lines beginning with two slash signs (//) are considered comments and do not have any effect on the behavior of the program. The programmer can use them to include short explanations or observations within the source code itself. In this case, the line is a brief description of what our program is.

#include <iostream>
Lines beginning with a pound sign (#) are directives for the preprocessor. They are not regular code lines with expressions but indications for the compiler's preprocessor. In this case the directive #include <iostream> tells the preprocessor to include the iostream standard file. This specific file (iostream) includes the declarations of the basic standard input-output library in C++, and it is included because its functionality is going to be used later in the program.

using namespace std;
All the elements of the standard C++ library are declared within what is called a namespace, the namespace with the name std. So in order to access its functionality we declare with this expression that we will be using these entities. This line is very frequent in C++ programs that use the standard library, and in fact it will be included in most of the source codes included in these tutorials.

int main ()
This line corresponds to the beginning of the definition of the main function. The main function is the point by where all C++ programs start their execution, independently of its location within the source code. It does not matter whether there are other functions with other names defined before or after it - the instructions contained within this function's definition will always be the first ones to be executed in any C++ program. For that same reason, it is essential that all C++ programs have a main function.

The word main is followed in the code by a pair of parentheses (()). That is because it is a function declaration: In C++, what differentiates a function declaration from other types of expressions are these parentheses that follow its name. Optionally, these parentheses may enclose a list of parameters within them.

Right after these parentheses we can find the body of the main function enclosed in braces ({}). What is contained within these braces is what the function does when it is executed.

cout << "Hello TechPreparation";
This line is a C++ statement. A statement is a simple or compound expression that can actually produce some effect. In fact, this statement performs the only action that generates a visible effect in our first program.

cout represents the standard output stream in C++, and the meaning of the entire statement is to insert a sequence of characters (in this case the Hello TechPreparation sequence of characters) into the standard output stream (which usually is the screen).

cout is declared in the iostream standard file within the std namespace, so that's why we needed to include that specific file and to declare that we were going to use this specific namespace earlier in our code.

Notice that the statement ends with a semicolon character (;). This character is used to mark the end of the statement and in fact it must be included at the end of all expression statements in all C++ programs (one of the most common syntax errors is indeed to forget to include some semicolon after a statement).

NEXT >> return 0;

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