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Visual C++ programs also share another trait: Almost all of them have one or more lines that begin with the # (pound sign) character, followed by include. 1 shows a simple outline of a Visual C++ program. 1. An Outline of a simple C++ program Notice that there is a closing brace for every opening brace? htm every opening bracket that appears in a program. The parentheses, braces, and brackets enclose language elements within the Visual C++ program. As with parentheses in written languages, these Visual C++ symbols enclose pieces of a program, and you must indicate with the closing character where the piece ends.

The preceding program contains a total of seven lines, and only one really produces something you can see. More advanced Visual C++ programs might consist of 500 lines or more. That 7-to-1 setup-to-work ratio does not exist for every Visual C++ program. That would cause too much work on your part! The amount of code that sets up the program diminishes as a program grows. C++ programs sometimes look cryptic, but when you learn the fundamentals of the language, you'll see that program formats are often similar.

When program maintenance is required, it takes twice as long to change the code as it would if the programmer had added comments during the original programming phase. As important as comments are, you can over-comment a program. Add comments to lines only when the program's code warrants it. You see many more comments in the first few programs in this book than you see later. As you learn the simple commands, this book attempts to clarify them through extra comments in the program listings. Nevertheless, redundant comments are as bad as no comments at all.

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