I'm absolutely new at this and please forgive me if this is not the correct place to ask these questions but here are some questions I could really use some answers to. I am going to be taking some C++ courses at a local college and I want to set my personal
computer up so that I can do some C++ learning/development. I may have the opportunity to use C++ in my job in the future.
Should I buy Visual Studio 2005 as my development environment?
You certainly could, but for learning purposes, if you budget is tight, you could just use VS C++ Express:
I understand what the C++ Standard Library is but does it come as part of Visual Studio 2005?
Yes. You can't really be considered a C++ compiler if you don't include the standard libraries.
What is the Standard Template Library and does it come with Visual Studio 2005?
It's a library of collections and algorithms to use on the collections. You'll learn a lot more about them then this stupid sentence explains, but that should be enough of a description to get you going. It's important to note, however, that most of what
the STL included is now part of the C++ Standard Library. This is confusing, because some people will refer to the standard library as the STL, when technically it's not. You'll probably not use the STL, but will instead learn the standard library, which
as I just said, comes with your compiler.
What exactly is the MSDN Library and should I invest in this?
Thank you for your patience...
The MSDN Library is a huge set of documentation that includes API documentation as well as programming articles and sample code. An offline version comes with the compiler (I don't know about Express), while the online version is available free on the web.
No investment needed. So, maybe you meant an MSDN Subscription instead? That includes the library, as well as developer versions of many Microsoft software packages, such as operating systems, office, SQL Server, development tools, etc. Probably not something
you'll want to invest in just for learning purposes, because subscriptions aren't cheap (though they are worth the money).