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CHAPTER
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The Setup
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This chapter covers a basic setup and organization for you to get started with NCurses programming. Here you ll find:
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An introduction to the terminal window in UNIX A smattering of basic shell commands Creating a special curses directory for this document s programs A review of available text editors The creation of a basic NCurses program A review of the gcc compiler and linking commands Re-editing source code and debugging exercises
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The idea here is to show you how everything works and to get you comfortable programming with NCurses, even if you ve never written a UNIX program before.
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NCurses Is a UNIX Thing
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You must have a UNIX-like operating system to work the samples and examples in this book.
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1
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The Setup
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Beyond this, note that you must also have the programming libraries installed for your operating system. Without those libraries, programming in NCurses just isn t gonna happen. Refer to your operating system s installation or setup program, such as /stand/sysinstall in FreeBSD, to install the C programming libraries for your operating system. If special extensions are required to get the NCurses library installed, use them!
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N OT E It s possible to program NCurses in Windows when using the Cygwin environment. I ve not toyed with Cygwin, so I m unable to comment on it here. For more information, refer to www.cygwin.com.
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Run (Don t Walk) to a Terminal Screen Near You
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NCurses is about programming the terminal screen, so you ll need access to a terminal screen or window to run the programs. You can either use one of the virtual terminals (which you can access on most PCs by pressing Alt+F1, Alt+F2, Alt+F3, and so on) or open a terminal window in the X Window System environment or in Mac OS X using the Terminal program. (See Figure 1-1.)
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Figure 1-1: A terminal window for Mac OS X
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Note that the terminal you choose can affect what NCurses does. Not all terminal types can, for example, do color or draw lines on the screen.
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1
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The Setup
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Know Something About the Shell
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The program you use in the terminal screen is a shell. It displays a shell prompt and lets you type one of the gazillions of UNIX commands and what not which is all basic UNIX stuff. The following sections review basic shell operations and a smattering of commands. If you feel you already know this, skim up to the section titled Make a Place for Your Stuff.
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Some Shelly Stuff
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For example, the standard Bourne shell may look like this:
The dollar sign is the prompt, and you type your commands after the prompt. The Bash shell, popular with Linux, may look like this:
Bash-2.05a$
Or the shell may be customized to display your login name:
dang$
Or even the working directory:
/home/dang/$
Whatever! No one really cares about which shell you use, but you should know enough shell commands to be able to do these things:
Make directories Display a file s contents Copy files Rename files Remove files
It s beyond the scope of this book to teach you such stuff, though a handy list of popular shell commands is provided at the end of this chapter.
1
The Setup
Note that this book does not display the shell prompt when you re directed to enter a command. Simply type the command; then press Enter to send the command to the shell program for processing. It is always assumed that you press the Enter key to input the command.
N OT E Please do check your typing! The shell is very fussy about getting things correct. In the Bash shell, you ll see a command not found error when you mistype something:
-bash: tcc: command not found
Know Your History, Because You re Going to Repeat It
One handy shell feature you should take advantage of is the history. Various history commands allow you to recall previously typed text at the command prompt. This is commonly done as you edit, compile, re-edit, and recompile your code. For example, most of the time you re using this book you ll be cycling through three sets of commands. First comes the editing: