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Learn to Program on the BeOS!


Have you had a good time using the BeOS? Does the power and responsiveness excite you? Does seeing new software every day make your mouse hand tingle (and not from carpel tunnel syndrome, unless you've been playing too much Nerdkill)?

You're in good company! But perhaps the BeOS excites you even further. For many, the promise of the clean, uncluttered programming interfaces inspires them to want to learn to program the BeOS. It's for those ambitious souls, among whom I count myself, that this Tip is dedicated!

The first piece of advice we have for you is, learn to crawl before you try to run. No, that doesn't mean we think you should learn some other, slower operating system first! It means you need to learn the basics, the fundamentals of programming, before you can begin to learn and appreciate programming any operating system, even one as easy to develop on as the BeOS.

If you're new to programming in C++ (the chosen language for the BeOS) and especially if your new to programming at all, you'll want to pick out a good beginner's introduction to C++. By a not-surprising coincidence, I have two good books picked out for you already!

The first is one recommended by one of our Developer Support team members, who is using it himself to learn to program in C++. We've got an awful lot of C++ books laying around here at Be, but this one explains things in ways that "click". Here are the book details, along with a link to, where you can buy the book at a 20% discount:

The Beginner's Guide to C++ Programming
by Oleg Yaroshenko
Paperback, 691 pages
List price $27.95, discounted to $22.36 at

Another beginner's tome was recommended by one of our amazing engineers, a certified C++ expert, who says this book gets things right which most other books get wrong (and he would know). Here's the information for the Third Edition, published shortly after the C++ standard was "finalized" in 1998:

C++ Primer
by Stanley B. Lippman, Josee Lajoie
Paperback, 1237 pages
List price $45.95 at

We've got a lot more recommendations in the Be Bookstore, so when you've digested one or both of these, come on back and pick up the next step on your path to becoming a supercool BeOS programmer.

The other half of this Tip is a hint of how to use these books, or any other beginning C++ book, with the BeOS and the version of CodeWarrior that is included with it. CodeWarrior Lite, as it's called, has some size limitations for how big a program you can produce with it (64K of code).

It's quite common in these books to use the cin and cout routines to get input and produce output (they're very easy to use, which makes them ideal for a beginner-level book). Unfortunately, these routines have a lot of stuff hidden behind the scenes, and they up exceeding the limitations of the free version of CodeWarrior. Very frustrating for the beginning programmer!

To work around this irritation, a third-party developer put together a special "Lite" version of the library that contains cin and cout. You can pick it up from BeWare at:

Last part of this Tip: When you've worked your way through most or all of your introduction to C++, it's time to learn how to apply that learning to the BeOS. Here are a couple places on the Be web site to go for that information:

The Approaching Be nutshell tutorial (a great overview of BeOS programming)
The Be Developer Library (an index to BeOS programming info)
Developer Library Introduction section (a sub-index to introductory material)

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