If you want to become a diehard UNIX and C programmer, use vi and the command line lol.
Here's how I do my work as a CS student:
I either work directly at a linux machine at school, where I compile my programs from the command line, using the gcc compiler. As for writing my programs, I usually just use a text editor because I really suck at using vi (I guess I'm not diehard). On Linux, gedit will color-code the programs and what not I write, like an IDE would. If you're working on a linux machine, you most likely will not be using an IDE that will compile your programs for you by clicking an icon. If you're working on your own machine that runs Windows, feel free to use an IDE, but if you want to really understand what's going on, you gotta get your hands dirty. To really understand what's going on at a deeper level, you gotta be working on the command line for a first-hand experience. That is why schools tend to make the students work from the command line. You won't learn by just clicking icons.
If I'm at home, I'm on my OSx86 setup, so basically doing the same thing: terminal to compile, a text editor to write code.
You can ssh into a unix/linux machine at your school (I assume) and in that case, you would be doing everything from the command line. You'd be compiling just as you normally would, but you would have to write/edit your code in something like vi or emacs since you don't have the GUI to use a text editor like gedit or something.
vi is pretty powerful for a text editor but it just requires a bit of practice to become efficient at.
I'm not sure if I've answered your question really, just trying to give out general information
Here's the basic steps to writing a program, compiling, and running it from the command line:
1.) Open terminal
2.) Typing "ls" will list the contents of the directory you're in. In my case, it's my home directory
3.) I want to navigate into my Documents, so I enter "cd Documents/" (cd = change directory).
4.) I want to save my file that contains my code here, so I create a new file using vi. I type "vi myProg.c" where "vi" is the command to start vi and "myProg.c" is the name of the file I want. Make sure you save it as .c
5.) Once I enter "vi myProg.c", vi starts and it changes my terminal window into what you see below but it'll be blank until you type text.
6.) To begin inserting text, hit "ESC" and then "i". You'll see "INSERT" at the bottom left, indicating you're in insert mode and can modify the file.
7.) Type your code
8.) To save and exit, hit "ESC" again and then ":wq" (write and quit).
9.) Once you save and quit from vi, you'll be brought back to your previous terminal screen.
10.) Type "ls" again and notice that "myProg.c" is now listed in the current directory
12.) To compile the program, type "gcc myProg.c"
12.) If it compiles without error, you'll get another command prompt. If you have errors, it'll tell you (so if you compile and don't see any message, you're good to go as far as syntax errors).
13.) Type "ls" again and you'll see that we now have our executable file "a.out".
14.) To run that executable, type "./a.out"
15.) Note the output
This is the most basic of cases and just illustrates the general idea. Googling and looking around will definitely show you more.Edited by Tomiger - 1/22/11 at 11:22pm