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Home » Tip Bank » C++
Language: C++
Expertise: Beginner
Jul 27, 1998

Approach to studying C++

Question:
My development background primarily involves COBOL and BASIC on UNIX platforms. I decided to further my language knowledge and branched out into C & C++. I've largely been teaching myself, and I've not had any problems until I started to use Microsoft's Foundation Classes for Windows programming. I had no difficulty migrating to an OOP frame of mind or in grasping C/C++ fundamentals, but I am becoming increasingly confused, especially where and when to use the various MFC libraries. I've used books to assist me, and Ivor Horton's Beginning MFC has been especially helpful, but some important MFC concepts that I would like to cover are not available in any detail. The topics of especial interest are collection classes and how they are (properly) used, serialization and printing, and screen to printing sizing definitions. I hope this query isn't too general, but I need advice to help me map out a proper understanding of the MFC, without having to spend thousands of pounds on courses that might not be what I want.

Answer:
Well, that is a pretty general question.

I see no point in getting involved in things like collection classes until you are looking for some way to store data in a collection. The best approach is simply to create some simple projects using Application Wizards.

The code generated by Application Wizards will bring many of the most important classes to your project automatically. Building from there is the best way to go. This starting point will include serialization routines (although you'll need to fill in the code). Printing is handled by the CView class and, again, I'd start with what is already there and just add to it what you need.

There are many, many additional issues such as screen to printer size conversions. Unfortunately, there is no short cut to those. Windows is complex, and it will take time to learn some issues. But the place to start is with a running application created for you by the tools Microsoft includes and then add to that a step at a time.

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