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I strongly suggest SDL to any beginner C++ programmer

Updated on April 16, 2009 at the 23th hour
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DISCLAIMER: Expressed views on this blog are my own.

If you are a beginning C++ programmer, I strongly suggest that you get into SDL as a start to your programming life with seeing how third party libraries make your life easier. Only after you’ve gotten through the C++ basics should you attempt to use SDL and if you haven’t gotten though the basics, then buy yourself C++ for Dummies.

SDL is called Simple DirectMedia Layer and can be used for things like graphics, audio, font rendering, and etc. There are no bounds on what SDL can do. Take a look at the libraries that can be used with SDL. It can be used for many things, not just games. Most SDL tutorials though, if not all, are for game programming, and when you are good enough (I believe in you), you can make SDL work with OpenGL, wxWidgets, and etc.

If you need tutorials, then I suggest(this list will grow over time, if needed):

What I suggest is that you actually try to write about what you have learned along with "monkey see, monkey do." Don't copy and paste though. Some parts of the tutorials are mundane, so if you get bored do something else. Stick to one set of tutorials, don't go from one to the other, manage your time, and read articles on graphics (not limited to this subject).

I prefer LazyFoo because it was that first one I actually followed. Believe or not, I do not follow tutorials for very long and tend to stray to other tutorials or not do anything at all, but LazyFoo is the first and not the last tutorial I will follow through. Just toil along and try experimenting, I'm sure you will come to love this little library. :)
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