Software Development (return to Home page)

Getting Started

Are you Ready for Online Learning?

To be successful with workshops, assignments and homework for C programming and other courses, you will need

 Install programming tools 
 Visual Studio IDE 
Our teaching and learning resources use Microsoft's "Visual Studio" which means the IDE version of Visual Studio

... for code-completion, code formatting, compiling, debugging, and assignment frameworks. We not only show how to code in a programming language, we demonstrate the practice of programming. And we do it using VS. More professional programmers use VS-IDE than any other Integrated Development Environment (IDE); unlike many pro tools, VS works for students, too.

Using Visual Studio (see below) will usually result in the best programming development experience unless your system is older or has relatively little memory.

Please note: "Visual Studio" (IDE) is a different product than "Visual Studio Code" or "Visual Studio for macOS", despite the naming similarities.

Want to use something other than Visual Studio IDE?

Yes, it is possible to use something other than Visual Studio IDE to do C programming. Students have been successful using Visual Studio Code (for Windows, macOS, or Linux). Whatever you use, it should have a built-in debugging utility. A debugger may preserve your sanity and/or the health of your computer, the window you tried to throw it through, or the safety of passers-by below if the window was open.

However, expect to be self-sufficient with respect to development tools and some aspects of support from your instructor -- everyone does not use the tools you do. Be prepared to translate anything referring to Visual Studio into your own tool's equivalents. Our courses may provide a Visual Studio project for an assignment; you will have to extract the code. Experienced programmers can probably manage this easily, but it will all cost you extra time.

Visual Studio IDE runs only in a Windows Operating System environment 

Students are licensed to use Windows 10 OS and other software; go to the Seneca Software Center and click on "Students".  Windows 10 Education includes features from Windows 10 Enterprise and is an upgrade from Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, or earlier versions. The upgrade is recommended.

Thinking of using Visual Studio Online (AKA Visual Studio Codespaces) ?

see this

Apple macOS

 See these no charge options for Apple macOS users.


Linux gurus, you know what to do. Install a bootloader with Windows 10 OS installed. See above links to get a no charge, licensed copy of Windows 10.
If that does not work for you, one of the macOS options may work for you. (macOS is Linux with lipstick)

I have read down this far -- easy to use online Code, Compile, Run, Debug for C / C++
Download source to your computer and Transfer / Compile / Run on matrix (see below).

Seneca provides an application streaming service called MyApps. Some software requires a connection through StudentVPN to access the licensing server.  (VPN = Virtual Private Network) All other software on MyApps is Open Source -- don't bother with myApps and just install locally. There are reasons the MyApps option is this far down the list. A "cloudpaging player" client app must be loaded on your computer.

Some students have completed their programming course on Seneca's matrix server using vi, gcc, and gdb in a *nix (Unix / Linux) terminal environment.


 How to install Visual Studio 

 Hello World program 

Visual Studio demonstration:

 Transfer / Compile / Run 

If you have questions about getting started, send an email to your instructor – see Instructor Contacts / Faculty Info within the Computer Principles for Programmers (CP4P) course site at If you have questions about C, send an email to your programming instructor – see see your IPC144 or BTP100 course site at We have have software tools to share our screens and discuss issues in real time. Note that, like you, instructors have much to do getting ready for the new semester so their responses may be delayed. There is little that cannot be dealt with during the first week of classes.