Top IDEs for C or C++ Developers in 2020 & Beyond!


Heya! A warm welcome to all the programmers and readers.

Before we go ahead and read the below article, I’m sure the first computer language which you all would have explored would be “C”, right?

In this digital era, nothing is possible without programming. From smartphones in our pocket to the self-driving cars, everything needs programming. The cursor of the mouse which you are rolling needs programming too! That’s quite an interesting fact. Lol to myself.

Note: You can read our updated article “18 BEST C & C++ IDES & CODE EDITORS FOR EFFICIENT PROGRAMMING”. We have updated this article with additional infographics. Enjoy Reading!!

Let’s start with the basics:-

Knowledge of programming allows programmers to communicate with computers with their machine language.

We all know, there are several programming languages that anyone can learn. However, ‘C’ programming has always been a favorite bull’s eye to the programming archers.

How would it sound if I tell you that this is one of the oldest and important programming languages?

Clear the myth this isn’t. The evolution of the programming started with computer languages named Fortran and Cobol in the year ranging from 1951 – 1960. And ‘C’ programming was discovered in the year 1972 by Dennis M. Ritchie who was an American computer scientist.

Let’s know more about C. Well, C is a building block of many other programming languages that programmers use today.

Contrary to this, C++ (the extended version of C) is similar to C but has more features. You can refer C as a subset of C++ making it equally important for developers. Both languages have the same syntax and code structure.

Considering this, we have covered the 10 best IDEs (Integrated Development Environment) for C or C++ programming language in this article. Point no 5 and 6 being my personal favorite.

Top Coding Languages in 2019

A Little About Integrated Development Environment…

Integrated Development Environment or IDE for short is an application or software which programmers use for programming. It helps a programmer to program easily by providing all comprehensive facilities required for the development of software. IDE can improve the productivity of a programmer or developer because of its fast setup and various tools. Without this, a programmer takes a lot of time deciding various tools to use for their tasks.

Mainly, an IDE includes 3 parts i.e. source code editor, build automation tool (compiler) and a debugger. The source code editor is something where programmers can write the code, whereas, build automation tool is used by the programmers for compiling the codes and the debugger is used to test or debug the program in order to resolve any errors in the code. Furthermore, these IDEs also comes with additional features like object and data modeling, unit testing, source code library, and a lot more.

As of now, several IDEs are available for various programming languages like Python, C++, Java. JavaScript, R and others. The modern IDEs even possess intelligent code completion for maximizing the programmer’s productivity.

Top IDE's of 2019

Advantages of Using IDEs

  • These are simple editing environments consisting of several features making coding quick and efficient.
  • Takes less time and effort- It includes various tools and features that help to prevent mistakes, organizes resources and provide shortcuts.
  • It allows quick navigation to the type
  • Programmers can quickly navigate to other members by using hyperlinks
  • IDEs organize imports and can add appropriate imports
  • It can give warning in case of any errors or mistakes
  • IDEs are great for generating code or completing the code depending upon previous codes.
  • These environments make the unit test’s running easy

Apart from these, there are several other benefits of using IDE’s depending upon its types or programming languages.

Some IDEs are specific to the programming language while some support various programming languages. Because of the C and C++ programming language’s growing popularity and having multiple applications, herein we will discuss the 10 best IDE’s for the same. Both of these programming languages are also the most basics and is recognized worldwide. All the IDE’s which I have mentioned below not only supports C/C++ but also various other languages.

Read More:

Are you a Python Developer? If Yes, then we’ve covered you too! Read Best IDEs and Code Editors for Python Developer- 2020” for its better understanding. And in case, if you want to polish your Python skills or learn Python from the beginning then you can read “Top 16 Resources to Learn Python Programming In 2020 & Beyond!!

If you’re seeking to know about top IDEs & Editors for JavaScript, then we’ve your back as well. Check out this blog on Best JavaScript IDEs and Code Editors in 2020.

10 best IDEs for C or C++

1. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code IDE

It is an open-source code editor developed by Microsoft for Windows, Linux and Mac OS. Visual Studio Code is based on an Electron framework. According to a survey done in 2018 by Stack Overflow, it was ranked the most popular developer environment tool among others. Furthermore, this IDE is also customizable which lets programmers change the theme, keyword shortcuts and preferences.

Key Benefits:

  • Support for Debugging
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Intelligent Code completion, snippets and code refactoring
  • EmbeddedGit Control
  • Completely portable
  • Easy customization

Programming Languages Supported: C, C++, C#, CSS, Go, HTML, Java, JavaScript, Python, PHP, TypeScript and much more!

To know more about Visual Studio Code, you can read the blog Visual Studio Code Is So Popular But Why?

2. Eclipse

Eclipse IDE

It is one of the most popular, powerful and useful IDEs used by developers for C/C++ programming. It is an open-source software which is simple and easy to use. Originally, it was used for Java Programming but now it is used for various languages. Eclipse can run Windows, Linux and Mac OS. You can even file a bug on their website if you encounter any on the Eclipse IDE or Compiler.

Key Benefits:

  • Great Graphical User Interface with drag-and-drop functionality
  • Supports static code analysis
  • Smart code completion
  • Productivity Boosters
  • Git integration
  • Cross-platform support
  • Rich Community

Programming Languages Supported: C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, COBOL, Perl, PHP, Python & others

3. NetBeans

NetBeans IDE

It is one of the most used IDEs and can run on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Solaris. It is a free and open-source IDE that is written in Java. This IDE consists of an interface that comes with a drag-and-drop feature and a list of convenient project templates. You can use NetBeans to create C/C++ applications with dynamic and static libraries. It allows programmers to create C/C++ applications from existing code. Additionally, it provides a great set of tools for C/C++ programmers. NetBeans has numerous plugins that can extend the software. Developers can also remotely monitor their project’s development.

Key Benefits:

  • Cross-platform support
  • Rich set of plugins
  • Supports multiple programming languages
  • Simple and efficient project management
  • Smart code editing
  • Large support community

Programming Languages Supported: Java, HTML, HTML 5, C, C++ and others

4. Sublime Text

Sublime Text IDE

It is a cross-platform source code editor which supports several languages and markup languages. Sublime Text has a Python application programming interface and has a slick user interface along with incredible features and amazing performance. Programmers can also add additional functions with numerous plugins that are community-built.

Key Benefits:

  • Go To Anything- Quick navigation to symbols, lines or words
  • Go To Definition- Can automatically generate a project-wide index of every class, method and function.
  • Allows multiple selections
  • Command Palette
  • Powerful API
  • Highly customizable
  • Cross-platform supporting Mac, Windows and Linux
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Auto-completion
  • Plugins and Integrations

Programming Languages Supported: C, C++, Java, and others

5. Atom

Atom IDE

It is one of the highly configurable text editors which is free for personal and commercial developments. It was designed and developed by GitHub and has a very large community. A multitude of plugins are available for this editor which extends its features and makes it more customizable. It also supports OS X, Windows and Linux, and has a very simple interface to work on.

Key Benefits:

  • Cross-platform support
  • Smart autocompletion
  • Package manager
  • Plugins support
  • Multiple panes
  • Option to find and replace text
  • Supports command palette

Programming Languages Supported: C/C++, CSS, HTML, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby and others

6. Code::Blocks

CodeBlocks IDE

It is a free, open-source IDE that was developed in C++ using wxWidgets as a GUI toolkit. Code::Blocks is an extensible and highly customizable IDE that performs on all platforms including Linux, Mac and Windows. Any function can be added to this IDE by installing or coding a plugin. For e.g., functions of compiling and debugging are available because of plugins. Code::Blocks support various pre-built plugins as well as custom plugins. Programmers can easily tweak the IDE accordingly and can also easily navigate through the tab interface. Initially, it was created for C++ but now you can also run C programs.

Key Benefits:

  • Compatible with Linux, Mac, and Windows
  • Smart Code Completion
  • Easy Navigation
  • Integrated intelligent Syntax highlighting
  • Full-featured debugger
  • Rich Community

Programming Languages Supported: C, C++, Fortran

7. CodeLite

CodeLite IDE Homepage

Another good IDE for C or C++ programming used by the myriad of programmers. It is an open-source software that can run on all major platforms including Windows, Linux and OS X. It provides great support for compilers and also allows users to know more about the errors by just clicking on it.

Key Benefits:

  • Spell Checker
  • Word Completion
  • Clang Based Code Completion Engine
  • JavaScript, PHP code completion
  • Graphical Diff Utility
  • Valgrind Support
  • Git and Svn plugins
  • Database Explorer

Programming Languages Supported: C, C++, PHP, and others

8. CodeWarrior

It is a complete IDE known for providing a highly visual and automated framework for fast development of an application. CodeWarrior was published by NXP Semiconductors for editing, compiling and debugging software. This IDE can run on Windows and Linux OS and can simplify the most complex activities making developer’s work simple and easy.

Key Benefits:

  • Easy-to-use Graphical User Interface
  • Allows a single gateway to all components
  • Project Manager
  • Provides a single gateway to all components
  • Highly optimizable
  • Powerful macro assembler
  • Provides fast access to different source code elements like variables, classes and others
  • Smart linker
  • Programmers can build custom libraries
  • Colorized, multi-paned and syntax-directed editor

Programming Languages Supported: C, C++, and Java

9. Dev-C++


It is a full-featured IDE for C or C++ languages. For compilation, it uses MinGW port of GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) or any other GCC compilers. It is supported on Windows OS for the Software Development.

Key Benefits:

  • Support GCC based compilers
  • Integrated Debugging
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code Completion
  • Project Manager
  • Editable Shortcuts
  • Tool Manager
  • CVS Support

Programming Languages Supported: C and C++

10. MinGW


MinGW is Minimalist GNU for Windows which provides Graphical User Interface based Integrated Development Environment for MS Windows applications. It also has compilers for C, C++, Fortran and ADA. It doesn’t depend on any 3rd parties DLL but requires DLL files provided by Microsoft itself.

Key Benefits:

  • Fast and Simple
  • Open-source programming toolset
  • Runs on Microsoft Windows Platform, cross-hosted on Linux or cross-native on Cygwin
  • Provide access to the functionality of the Microsoft C runtime
  • Suitable for the development of native MS-Windows (x86) applications

Programming Languages Supported: C, C++, Objective-C, Fortran and others

Bottom Line

So this was it! Indeed, IDE’s are great for programmers to write an error-free code more efficiently and fast. It increases productivity too by providing several features to the programmer. Still choosing the right IDE from many becomes very important for the programmers as each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.

What do you think? Which is your favorite IDE from the above list? Or is there any IDE that I forgot to mention worth mentioning? If Yes, then do mention it in the comment section below.

Note: You can read our updated article “18 BEST C & C++ IDES & CODE EDITORS FOR EFFICIENT PROGRAMMING”. We have updated this article with additional infographics. Enjoy Reading!!

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