I am trying to understand exactly what I do once I compile successful code and I want to share it with my friends so they can run it on there computers. Are they always going to have to run it in the command prompt window.
Will I eventually no matter how small and trivial be able to have a decent looking program that can run on windows.
Get pedump ( http://www.wheaty.net/downloads.htm ) or any other utility that can show you the DLL dependencies for your program. Except for system DLLs you'll have to give your friends a copy of them along with your exe.
Best thing is to put the exe and the DLLs all in one directory and zip it up and give your friends the zipfile.
if you want to understand what is compiling and then takeoff in C++, you might consider reading: Hacking: the art of exploitaionJon Erickson.
i only read the first few pages, but it look really promising in understanding how the compiler works, and what is a programming language.
i can not -however- recommend this book, as i didn't finish it, but many people recommended reading it only for the programming part.
now, about that program look thing:
you might be writing some console applications now, but great programmers are saying that GUI applications only differ in interacting with the user, all the other programming principles are the same.
means that instead of taking the user input with cin>>some_var;
you will have to use an object and call a function from it , and instead of cout<<some_var;
you will use an object to contain the output data.
don't worry about the looks of your program, for now just focus on the methodology of programming.
GUI is not that hard.