I am an intermiade programmer with C++ Win32 Console Apps and I was wondering where I should go. What could Allegro do for me? If someone could fill me in on the ways it works I would appereciate it. I also want to know what the point of Win32 programming is if it takes forever to make a simple program.
Programming with windows (a message based architecture) has a lot of advantages over simple console style apps. Just look at the browser you're currently using, it would be practically impossible to do something like that in console mode with a command line interface. True most simple programs do take longer to program in Win32 API and even MFC than in a console or in DOS, and porting console programs to 'proper' windows applications would be on the most part pointless, but windows programs can go much further than that.
As for allegro, it's a combination of libraries, which in simple terms is a bit like DirectX. It provides a way to program graphics, sound and input, primarily for games, and unlike DirectX it is portable (you can use programs made with it on BeOS or Windows with little modification). You won't need it for Windows application programming, correct me if I'm wrong on that.
As I understand it, Allegro is just a shell for OPENGL and DIRECTX. When you're using Allegro it is really using calls to DirectX and OpenGL, although it is hidden from you.
Get visual C++ and making win32 programs is much simplified, use MFC and make it more simple. You can make Win32 programs with a simple template... learn it here.
www.gametutorials.com goto ->tutorials ->Win32
I recommend MFC. Even if you want more flexible than MFC offers, you will learn how MFC works and how you can improve on it via your own Win32 encapsulating classes.
I recommend that you ignore Allegro as you probably will not use it much. Instead, learn win32 API (which I suggest), MFC, or wxWindows. These are API's that allow you to make programs that have the pretty windows you are accustomed to seeing.