How to: Cope with C++ Environments, M Codewarrior, C Visual
Addison-Wesley, Edward M. Reingold, ACM Press, MIT Press, object file, object files, programming environments, Peter G. Neumann, Nachum Dershowitz, Fred B. Schneider, linker errors, Jon Bentley, string functions, Standard libraries, Joanne Luciano, Grady Booch, linker error, Programming Pearls, John von Neumann, Computing Research Association, Donald E. Knuth, David Gries, Sheet number, file, Allen B. Tucker, Communications of the ACM, Princeton University Press, preprocessor directive, von Neumann, Computing Curricula, Art of Computer Programming
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I How to: Cope with C++ Environments The tools we use have a profound (and devious!) influence on our thinking habits, and, therefore, on our thinking abilities. Edsger Disjkstra Selected Writings on Computing: A Personal Perspective, 1982.
I.1 Coping with Compilers Compilers and programming environments are supposed to be our friends. Once mastered, they stay out of the way and let us concentrate on the task at hand: solving problems
and Writing Program
s. However, they can be unbelievably frustrating when they don't work as we expect them to (or just plain don't work). In this How to I'll provide some guidance on using compilers and IDEs (Integrated Development Environments). More complete information can be found at the books's web site: http://www.cs.duke.edu/csed/tapestry For the purposes of this How to, compilers and IDEs fall into three groups as shown in Table I.1. Most compilers are available at very reasonable prices for educational use. In particular, the Cygwin suite of tools is available for both Linux and Windows NT/95/98, and it's free. See http://www.cygnus.com for details. The libraries of code and classes discussed in this text are accessible via the book's web site for each of the compilers listed in Table I.1. I realize that there are other
Table I.1 Compilers and IDEs. Platform Windows 95, 98, NT Linux/Unix Macintosh
Compiler/IDE Metrowerks Codewarrior Visual C++ Borland C++ Builder/5.0x Cygwin egcs g++ egcs (preferred) Metrowerks Codewarrior
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compilers. Many people use Borland Turbo 4.5; although it runs all the examples in this book except for the graphical examples, it doesn't track the C++ standard and it's really a compiler for an older operating system (Windows 3.1). I strongly discourage people from using it. In theory, all the programs and classes in this book run without change with any compiler and on any platform. In practice compilers conform to the C++ standard to different degrees. The only differences I've encountered in using the code in this book with different compilers is that as I write this, the egcs compilers still use and istrstream instead of and istringstream for the string stream classes. Otherwise, except for the classes DirStream and DirEntry from directory.h which are platform specific, the other code is the same on all platforms.
I.1.1 Keeping Current Once printed, a book lasts for several years before being revised. Compilers and IDEs have major new releases at least once a year. Rather than being out-of-date before publication, I'll keep the book's web site current with information about the latest releases of common compilers and IDEs. I'll include a general discussion here about the major issues in developing programs that use a library of classes and functions, but detailed instructions on particular compilers and platforms, including step-by-step instructions for the common environments, can be found on the web.
I.2 Creating a C++ Program The steps in creating a C++ program are explained in detail in Sections 7.2.3, 7.2.4, and 7.2.5. The steps are summarized here for reference, repeating material from those sections, but augmented with explanations of specific compilers/environments. 1. The preprocessing step handles all #include directives and some others we haven't studied. A preprocessor is used for this step. 2. The compilation step takes input from the preprocessor and creates an object file (see Section 3.5) for each .cpp file. A compiler is used for this step. 3. One or more object files are combined with libraries of compiled code in the linking step. The step creates an executable program by linking together systemdependent libraries as well as client code that has been compiled. A linker is used for this step. I.2.1 The Preprocessor The preprocessor is a program run on each source file before the source file is compiled. A source file like hello.cpp, Program 2.1 is translated into a translation unit which is then passed to the compiler. The source file isn't physically changed by the preprocessor, but the preprocessor does use directives like #include in creating the translation unit
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that the compiler sees. Each preprocessor directive begins with a sharp (or number) sign # that must be the first character on the line.
Where are include Files Located? The preprocessor looks in a specific list of di- rectories to find include files; this list is the include path. In most environments you can alter the include path so that the preprocessor looks in different directories. In many environments you can specify the order of the directories that are searched by the preprocessor.
Program Tip I.1: If the preprocessor cannot find a file specified, you'll probably get a warning. In some cases the preprocessor will find a different file than the one you intend; one that has the same name as the file you want to include. This can lead to compilation errors that are hard to fix. If your system lets you examine the translation unit produced by the preprocessor you may be able to tell what files were included. You should do this only when you've got real evidence that the wrong header file is being included.
Changing the Include Path In Metrowerks Codewarrior the include path is automatically changed when you add a .cpp file or a library to a project. The path is updated so that the directory in which the added file is located is part of the path. Alternatively, the path can be changed manually using the sequence of menus: Edit Console-App Settings Target Access Paths In Visual C++ the include path must often be changed manually, although projects do automatically generate a list of external dependencies that include header files. To change the include path use the sequence of menus below, then chose Include Files to specify where the preprocessor looks for files. Tools Options Directories In Borland, the include path is not always searched in the order in which files are given. To change the include path choose the sequence of menus below, then change the include path in the Source Directories section. Options Project Directories The include path for g++ and egcs is specified with a -I argument on the command line to the compiler or in a Makefile. Multiple arguments are possible. The line below makes an executable named prog, from the source file prog.cpp, using the current directory and /foo/code as the include path (the current directory is always part of the path). g++ -I. -I/foo/code -o prog prog.cpp
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I.2.2 The Compiler The input to the compiler is the translation unit generated by the preprocessor from a source file. The compiler generates an object file for each compiled source file. Usually the object file has the same prefix as the source file, but ends in .o or .obj. For example, the source file hello.cpp might generate hello.obj on some systems. In some programming environments the object files aren't stored on disk, but remain in memory. In other environments, the object files are stored on disk. It's also possible for the object files to exist on disk for a short time, so that the linker can use them. After the linking step the object files might be automatically erased by the programming environment.
Libraries. Often you'll have several object files that you use in all your programs. For example, the implementations of iostream and string functions are used in nearly all the programs we've studied. Many programs use the classes declared in prompt.h, dice.h, date.h and so on. Each of these classes has a corresponding object file generated by compiling the .cpp file. To run a program using all these classes the object files need to be combined in the linking phase. However, nearly all programming environments make it possible to combine object files into a library which can then be linked with your own programs. Using a library is a good idea because you need to link with fewer files and it's usually simple to get an updated library when one becomes available.
I.2.3 The Linker The linker combines all the necessary object files and libraries together to create an executable program. Libraries are always needed, even if you are not aware of them. Standard libraries are part of every C++ environment and include classes and functions for streams, math, and so on. Often you'll need to use more than one library. For example, I use a library called tapestry.lib for all the programs in this book. This library contains the object files for classes Dice, Date, RandGen and functions from strutils among many others. The suffix .lib is typically used for libraries. You aren't usually aware of the linker as you begin to program because the libraries are linked automatically. However, as soon as you begin to write programs that use several .cpp files, you'll probably encounter linker errors. These errors may be hard to understand. The key thing to note is that they are linker errors. Programming environments differ in how they identify linker errors, but all environments differentiate between compilation errors and linker errors. If you get a linker error, it's typically because you forgot a .cpp file in the linking step (e.g., you left it out of the project) or because you didn't implement a function the compiler expected to find.
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