Programming Environment Setup for CS 340

Before you get started programming, you'll need to set up your programming environment. We highly recommend you set up your own computer as your development environment, and we believe that real-world, industry-standard tools that are used by millions of people every day are the best tools to use for your development environment.

Visual Studio Code

In lecture, you'll see me use Visual Studio Code for all programming. I recommend you set up VS Code yourself if you don't already have it installed (it's free).

C Programming Environment

Setting up an programming environment for C will depend on what operating system you are using and this page has a section for Windows, OS X, and Linux. Almost all C++ compiles can also compile C code, so most setup guides will be in the context of C++ even though you will be doing C in the MPs.


On Windows, we recommend setting up Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) with Ubuntu Linux. WSL2 is a virtualization tool that will allow you to run an installation of Linux, which has much better support for the tools used in CS 340.

After you Install WSL2, next you will need to set up both Ubuntu for C Development and Visual Studio Code:

Finally, create a cs340 directory inside of your Ubuntu home directory.

Mac OS X

Since OS X is a Unix-like operating system, you will be able to run most Linux tools directly. However, since it's not Linux, there will be times that you will encounter unexpected behavior and will have to find workarounds. Where possible, we will support OSX as best as possible but it will not be perfect.

You will also need to create a cs340 folder. You can create it on your Desktop:


On Linux, setting up your environment should be as simple as installing the required packages for C development on your distribution. Microsoft has a guide to help you out if you out with getting Visual Studio Code set up: