New to the MAC scene - Windows Progs?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by loooke, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. loooke macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2005
    Hi guys

    Im just aboutfed up with my PC's these days and i want to make the switch over to MAC!

    The only thing that concerns me is that i am currently in university and one of the courses i am doing is C Programming, will i be able to install the program i use? Visual Basic 6.0? A soon as im assured i can i shall be purchasing one of the mac mini's :D

    thanks in advance!
  2. varmit macrumors 68000


    Aug 5, 2003
    Visual Basic is mainly a MS programming language you you can only do on a PC with MS tools. Personally, you wont find any use for it in the real world other than making scripts for MS Office. Plus, MS is killing support for the language later this month. I'm guessing you are using Visual Studio, which is only on MS Windows for the PC. Apple has Developer Tools called Xcode, free from Apple, that have the abilbity to program C++ (C), Java, Applescript, Carbon, and Cocoa. So if you need Visual Basic and Studio, stick to a PC, because that is the only place it will work. If you want to write programs for the Mac, switch, but if you are writting for the PC, just stay where you are.

    EDIT: I believe I have to take back what I said about Visual Basic, as you can program for the mac in Basic. I'm not sure if there is a difference, other than one has visual ques while the other is just the code. You wont be able to use the tools your use too, but you will still be able to program in the language.
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    If you are writing command line programs, MacOS X ships with an industry-standard C compiler. It also ships with Xtools, arguably the best programming environment on Earth. On this front, you will be fine so long as your instructor does not make the specific demand that you do on a Windows computer. As for Visual BASIC, REALbasic may fill that bill. It is even supported by Microsoft. Altough Visual BASIC is used primarily to develop crappy Windows shareware and some crappy vertical market and embedded applications, REALbasic is used to develop some nice small projects. It cross-compiles to Windows and to Java byte-code. It can also import Visual BASIC projects.
  4. ct77 macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2004
    If you absolutely need to continue working in a "Visual" Basic language on Mac, check out RealBasic. It's "a better Basic than Visual Basic", has a project migration tool for converting MS Visual Basic programs, and as an added bonus, you can compile your projects for use on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.

    EDIT: Whoops, I see MisterMe beat me to the punch recommending RealBasic. Anyhoo... :D
  5. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    If the course is called "C Programming", you shouldn't really need Windows. The C programming language is available on any imaginable platform.

    But you have to ask the assignment coordinator if you need Windows for the assignments or if they can be done using Mac or Linux as well.

    If they do require Windows, there are still a lot of solutions that will let you get by with just a Mac mini.

    1. Lab
    You can do the parts that require Windows in the computer labs at the University.

    2. Cross compilation
    You can cross compile on the Mac mini, this lets you program and compile for Windows even if you are on the Mac. You will not be able to test your programs until you get to a Windows computer, and you will have to figure out how to import and link in Windows libraries while on a Mac. It will probably be quite complicated, but you will learn a lot from the experience, because cross compiling is necessary if you ever want to develop for embedded devices like a Pocket PC or a Cell phone.

    3. Remote log in
    For even more fun tinkering with technology, you can ask a friend with Windows on the same LAN as you for a user account on his PC and enable log in with Remote Desktop or VNC. This will let you test your cross compiled products straight away, or you can do all the development that requires Windows remotely.

    4. Virtual PC
    This lets you run a virtual Windows PC on your Mac, where you can install any Windows application. It is slow and it is quite expensive, though.
  6. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Others have covered the available programming environments for Mac, so I won't add anything to that. I did want to say that when I took C programming a couple years ago, the majority of the students used Windows computers, but the teacher was sure to mention that it was fine for students to use Mac or Linux computers as well. We only ever wrote command line programs, so all the programs we wrote would just compile and run with no changes on other platforms, but in any case you should check with your instructor to see if you'll be able to use a Mac for your class. Good luck!
  7. quidire macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2004
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    Most CS classes use automatic testing of binaries; I doubt he can casually stop using Visual Studio for compilation.

    I would recommend Virtual PC. It is a copy of Windows (running emulated). Obviously it can run any program you were using before for development. It emulates (on a Mac mini) a few year old PC, but it should be enough for cross-compilation (and even direct programming, but really you'd be better off using SubEthaEdit (You can collaborate! ) or Xcode to do the actual programming if you aren't doing GUI stuff that requires MFC.

    PLEASE make sure you get plenty of RAM. OS X's memory management is proverbial unix (ie swap-out AND disk cache, very aggressively) so RAM beyond the requirements of the programs running will still be used to cache disk access and thus improve performance.

  8. lmalave macrumors 68000


    Nov 8, 2002
    Chinatown NYC
    If you really need to use Visual Studio (not Visual Basic, that's a different language), then I wouldn't recommend getting a Mac at this time. And forget running it with Virtual PC - it's going to be too slow. So either do your homework at your university's computer labs, or put off your purchase until you finish that class.

    In general Macs are great for computer programming, though. I'm a professional Java programmer and the only tool I need to use is Eclipse, which runs great on the Mac.
  9. aafuss1 macrumors 68000


    May 5, 2002
    Gold Coast, Australia
    You could use Virtual PC to run it-but it would be slower than a real Windows system.
  10. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    You can probably get by with a super cheap PC just for Visual Basic (no gaming) and still get a Mac Mini if you are still interesting in Macs. Xcode is free and you have access to several languages including C that ship with Mac OS X (again free).

    As in a cheap PC, you probably can find one for free that is used or for a few dollars. VB 6 is a really old product that doesn't require much memory or disk space so an old PC should be enough. It converts the code to P-Code or something so you don't wait for compiles.

    I would recommend you don't bother with VB6 only because it is difficult to port Apps to VB.NET and Microsoft wants to kill it.
  11. spaceballl macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    I'm not sure what level of programming you've hit with your computer science classes. I'm an Electrical Engineering / Software Systems major at UCSD and for my first couple of years with a mac, I would just SSH into the lab PCs and work that way. Works GREAT with X11 for OS X. I got a lot better results than most of my windows friends.

    Then now as a 4th year, most stuff we do is so specific to a certain platform that it needs to be done in the lab anyways. So compilers really shouldn't be too much of an issue. That being said, if you want the same software that you'll find on your campus. I doubt you'll find it on a Mac. Similar, for sure. Same? no.


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