I had the pleasure of setting up a new Win32 development environment recently. After installing emacs, the first thing to do was to get MinGW and MSYS installed for the C and C++ compilers and a semi-reasonable shell.
MinGW can be downloaded here but it is slightly difficult to see the latest files for downloading. I think it would be better if they put clear links to at least the latest versions of MinGW and MSYS at the top of the page. Anyway, here they are (as of today – 4th March 2007).
I don’t really want to code in C or C++ outside of work if I can really help it, so the next thing to do is to install a friendlier language. I’m quite comfortable with scheme so I’ll use Chicken for the ability to create Win32 executables although in reality there are many acceptable alternatives here. Chicken is available here and it requires CMake to build.
As of version 2.6, Chicken seems to have improved significantly since I last looked at it. Only a C compiler is required to build it rather than an existing Chicken compiler which makes the bootstrapping procedure somewhat easier. I installed it to c:/chicken, set the PATH and CHICKEN_HOME environment variables and compiled my first test program on this machine. Very nice and straightforward.