Get Started!

1. Get a Compiler

There are good free C++ compilers available for all major OS platforms. Download one that suits your platform:

  • Gnu Compiler Collection: Includes g++, a popular C++ compiler. A build for Windows is available here, builds for other platforms are likely available via your platform's package manager, or you can build it yourself using instructions here.
  • Clang: A new open-source C++ compiler for various platforms.
  • Visual C++ 2012 Express for Windows Desktop Apps and Windows 8 Apps: A free Windows C++ compiler by Microsoft.
  • Intel C++ Compiler: A C++ compiler for Linux by Intel, free for non-commercial usage, mostly GCC compatible.
  • Oracle Solaris Studio C++ Compiler: A C++ compiler for Solaris and some distributions of Linux, free for all commercial and non-commercial use.

Or try one of these online compiler pages, which offer a range of compilers including the latest from Clang, GCC, Intel, and Microsoft. Some are compile-only to let you check whether your code is legal, and some let you also run your test programs to see their output.

 

2. Take a Tour

Here are three great ways to get an overview of C++11 -- two for people who already know C++ and want to see what's new, and one that covers C++11 end to end.

"What's new" in 10 minutes. If you already know C++ and want quick highlights of what's new in C++11, see Elements of Modern C++ Style by Herb Sutter for an overview of the most obvious and pervasively useful differences in C++11 compared to Classic C++98. (Free.)
"What's new" in depth. If you already know C++ and want a thorough treatment of what's new in C++11, see Overview of the New C++ (C++11) by Scott Meyers. These are Scott's fully-annotated color training materials from his course of the same name, and the best current approximation of "a book on what's new in C++11." (Free sample available.)

Stroustrup's authoritative "Tour of C++11." For a "lap around C++11," take the authoritative Tour of C++ by the creator himself, Bjarne Stroustrup. This four-part Tour is drawn from from near-final drafts of Stroustrup's upcoming The C++ Programming Language, 4th Edition, and is being published on this site in four monthly installments starting November 2012. (Free.)

 

3. Learn More

Finally, here are four great books for learning C++ -- whether you know C++ already or not, and whether you even know how to program in any language or not, you'll find the book that's right for you.

Are you completely new to programming? If you've never programmed before, why not learn in C++?

Programming: Principles and Practice Using C++ is an introduction to programming written by the creator of C++, Bjarne Stroustrup. Thousands of college freshmen taking Stroustrup's hugely popular Introduction to Programming class at Texas A&M University, and innumerable readers around the world, have learned programming and launched their careers using this book -- and C++.

This text reflects the C++98 standard. All of the code examples work in C++11, and the book itself will likely be updated next year to reflect the new standard and its extra conveniences and features.

Are you looking for "the" one-stop overview of C++?

The new concise A Tour of C++ by Bjarne Stroustrup is the go-to book to answer "what is the book of what you should assume everyone knows about C++?"

Through a modern tour of the language and library, its contents answer the question: What is the basic knowledge that we should be able to assume from a competent C++ programmer?

One could subtitle it: "Around the C++ world in 180 pages."

Are you new to C++?

Freshly updated for the new C++11 standard, the bestselling C++ Primer is one of the most popular books ever for learning C++, written by close colleagues of Bjarne Stroustrup who participated in the development of C++ since its early days.

This authoritative and comprehensive introduction to C++ will help you to learn the language fast, and to use it in modern, highly effective ways. Highlighting today’s best practices, the authors show how to use both the core language and its standard library to write efficient, readable, and powerful code.

Looking for "the" authoritative C++11 reference?

Now also being freshly updated for C++11 and available soon, the all-time best-selling C++ book on the planet is Bjarne Stroustroup's The C++ Programming Language. This book is primarily a reference, not a tutorial, but it also contains extensive explanations and many valuable insights and guidelines from the creator of C++ himself.

Looking for the authoritative tutorial and reference for the C++11 standard library?

Freshly updated for C++11 and available now, The C++ Standard Library: A Tutorial and Reference by renowned ISO C++ member Nicolai Josuttis is the most respected book for learning and studying the standard library. It provides comprehensive documentation of each library component, including an introduction to its purpose and design; clearly written explanations of complex concepts; the practical programming details needed for effective use; traps and pitfalls; the exact signature and definition of the most important classes and functions; and numerous examples of working code. You'll find it all here -- everything from concurrency and clocks, to the new hash-based containers and regular expressions, to high-quality guidance on how to use key language features like lambdas with it all.