reflection, refraction and shadow maps

Today I started with all this GLSL stuff because I’ve been advised to do so, in order to achieve better effects in a program.
The main reason is because I want a sphere (which simulates a metal ball) to reflect other objects around it. I also want to have shadows, I read something about shadow maps.
The thing is I’m a newbie at this, so I hope anyone of you can help me out with this, answering this questions:

  1. How can I reflect other objects in the scene?
  2. How can I calculate shadows?

Thanks in advance

Reflecting other objects in a scene onto one object can actually be done in various ways. Some without needing shaders. You can pre-render objects into textures using FBOs and then map those textures onto the reflecting object.

Likewise there are ways to do shadows without shaders.

What you are asking are two questions with quite a large scope to them…

First you will really need to understand the basics of shaders if you wish to do this with GLSL…

I suggest you take a look at the LightHouse3D website to gain an introduction to shaders, and also perhaps this site http://www.3dshaders.com/home

There are many discussions and tutorials on shadow mapping which you can find via Google, and I believe there are several on this site itself too.