[clug-talk] books and programming

Shawn sgrover at open2space.com
Sat Jan 22 02:35:19 PST 2005

Hi Michael,

It would seem to me that you may be setting yourself a goal that is too far 
beyond your current skills (apologies if I'm wrong).  My recommendation is to 
set yourself a number of smaller goals, before tackling inter-application 
type coding.  You should learn how to program in C/C++ (if that's your 
language of choice), and be comfortable enough with it to be able to 
read/understand other people's code as well as write your own.  These should 
be what your short term goals help you focus on.

Of course, in the long(er) term, you do have a specific goal in mind and you 
should work towards that goal.  But I feel that if you only learn what you 
need to achieve that single goal, then you'll have more problems.  If you can 
round out your understanding of coding, and the other "soft" skills that go 
with coding (like debugging, system design, coding styles, etc.) you'll be 
better prepared to deal with the problems that will inevitably occur.  Not to 
mention that in the process, you may find a better solution to your specific 

Sorry if I sound like I'm trying to hold you back.  On the contrary, I whole 
heartedly encourage anyone to take up coding.  But, I also believe in a  
practical approach - someone just learning to program probably shouldn't be 
trying to build an operating system, or other such complicated 
systems/applications.  But once that same person has some experience under 
their belts, a complex system is much more feasible.

So, for now, keep your specific goal (related to Open Office) in the back of 
your mind, and follow the lessons in the books.  Make sure you understand 
what the books are trying to teach you, before moving on.  At the end of the 
books/lessons, take another look at your goal and judge if you are ready to 
try it out yet.  If not, find another book/lesson/project that will help get 
you closer to that goal....

With regards to looking at source code and getting a C compiler running:  
Source code is nothing more than a text file.  Use your favorite text editor 
to look at it.  For the compiler, use your Linux distribution's install 
method to install GCC compiler, make (which is a program), glibc (which is a 
library used by C/C++, and patch (another program).  These tools form the 
basis of the development environment (hopefully I got them all... going from 
memory).  There are other tools to install but they more or less depend on 
personal preference (though I'd probably recommend installing gdb for 
debugging purposes).



On Friday 21 January 2005 22:34, Michael Walters wrote:
> Hello Shawn and other clug members,
> My cousin gave me 3 C++ books and 14 C books because I expressed an
> interest in C programming and he had no further use for the books.
> I started looking at "SAMS Absolute beginner's guide to C second edition"
> which starts out with C and eventually discusses some of the differences
> between C and C++.
> I agree that trying to write an application called by open office would be
> too difficult and dangerous.
> So I was thinking of writing an application that could be called by a
> simpler application like "Kwrite".
> If you could suggest an even simpler application, please do so.
> And could you please let me know how I could look at the source code to
> that application and get a C compiler working for the fun of it.
> Since I have not yet fully explored "SAMS Teach Yourself OpenOffice.org All
> in One" I will continue working through that book too. But I thought it
> might be fun to write a small application that could be called by a KDE
> application.
> Regards,
> Michael Walters - CLUG member

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