Thread: Entering the c++ realm...

  1. #1
    Registered User Vercis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    Entering the c++ realm...


    I know that this post might seem like it's in a wrong section but still I prefered to post it here cause I just wanted to greet everyone since I'm new here. Also I'm not asking any particular question in this post, just some tips and hints!

    I just started learning programming (on my own), although I was always kinda tech/PC freak... I had no previous experience in programming.

    My first language is c++, a lot of people were saying that I was diving into some serious stuff and should start with something easier. Despite all the warnings I decided to try... so far everything looks fine, soon I'll be jumping into arrays and pointers (I know that most of the people are having issues with pointers ).

    My concerns so far: When I reach the part where I have to begin writing new code (program) I am kinda stuck cause I just don't know how to start and that's pretty weird and frustrating cause I can almost analyze everything in my mind. I can think the way the program should be structured, I know what I have to use and basicly what to do. It's just the problem of implementing all my thoughts in the beginning. (Imagine it like you're in front of a pile of legos, you know what you want to construct and you have a lot of tools and you have the knowledge of how to use the tools and what to do but you simply cannot start. How to create the concrete?).

    I know that I'm just a beginner, almost 2 months since I've been learning c++. I guess with experience and practise you're getting better.

    So do you guys have any tips? I mean what's the best way when you're coding a program from scratch? How do you start effeciently?

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Welcome to the forum!

    1. Start with a plan

    Before you even begin coding a program, take the time to think out the program and write down notes. Think of what you want to accomplish and what you'll need in order to do so. As you get thoughts out on paper (or in a document), you'll find that it frees your mind up to consider other possibilities and important concepts regarding the program. This will help ensure a solid foundation for your program, with little chance of realizing later that the whole structure is inherently flawed.

    2 Take your time

    Don't rush the program. Just work on one little bit at a time. Make sure the code you write does what you want it to do before moving on to the next bit (in other words, compile and run often). Don't be afraid to add temporary code to your program that will help you test what you're currently working on. Programming is like construction in that it often requires temporary "scaffolding" to be built to help develop the main structure. Just in case it's something you haven't seen, I'd recommend reading a post here called a development process.

    3. Don't get discouraged

    It's can be easy to get discouraged at times, especially when things don't seem like they're working the way you expect. Take your time with it, and don't be afraid to take breaks when you're coding for a while. Sometimes stepping away for a bit will clear your head and the solution will appear much more easily.

    4. Avoid distractions

    For instance, I just sat down to start studying a new aspect of programming. But first I thought I'd check out the forums real quick and now I'm writing this. I need to focus!


    Best of luck!

  3. #3
    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Matticus' #4 may be last but it's certainly not least. It's often more problematic than the other 3 combined! (I'm violating it right now)
    I just want to use my computer in a productive manner, not learn how to use it. Elysia
    A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God. Alan Jay Perlis

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    Yes, experience and practice! Don't get bogged down with declaring tables and worrying about which function calls which. Conceive of the algorithm on paper... For example, if you are trying to write a Sudoku solver, or a Tic-Tac-Toe (X's and O's) game. Don't plow right into coding. You need to have a pretty clear concept of how to solve it in the abstract. I can relate to sitting in front of a pile of legos.

    I have been attempting a major programming project for a few years now... on and off, each time giving up and starting over. I make the constant mistake of coding AND conceiving algorithms at the same time. I try to alternate the activities so that I don't get bored or exhausted doing one thing. If the project is big enough then doing everything on paper isn't feasible because someone like me likes to see working prototypes to verify ideas. So yes, I don't always follow my own advice above.

    As a beginner with two months of learning, you need to have at least a solid six months to a year of coding. By then you should have a pretty good mental library of algorithms and data structures to help you solve future problems.

    This particular 'hobby' is one where you're always learning. It's natural to try and address harder and harder problems... therefore you're always researching and trying new data structures and mathematical solutions. The pile of legos becomes larger, not smaller. But guaranteed, you'll lose your fear of starting a project because of past successes and the happy feeling they provided.

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