Top IDEs for C or C++ Developers in 2022 & Beyond!

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In this digital era, nothing is possible without programming. From smartphones in our pockets to self-driving cars, everything needs programming. The cursor of the mouse which you are rolling needs programming too. Notably, knowledge of programming allows programmers to communicate with computers with their machine language.

We all know that there are several programming languages that anyone can learn. However, ‘C’ programming has always been a favorite one the programming archers. This is one of the oldest and most important programming languages.

The evolution of programming started with computer languages named Fortran and Cobol, from 1951 to 1960. And, ‘C’ programming was discovered in 1972 by Dennis M. Ritchie who was an American computer scientist.

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 to C as a subset of C++ making it equally important for developers. Both the languages have the same syntax and code structure. 

Considering this, we have covered the best IDEs (integrated development environments) for C or C++ programming language in this article. 

What are Integrated Development Environments?

Integrated development environment, or IDE in short, is an application or software which programmers use for programming. It helps a programmer to program easily by providing all the 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 on various tools to use for his/her tasks.

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

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

Advantages of Using IDEs

Here are some 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, organise resources and provide shortcuts.
  • It allows quick navigation of the type.
  • Programmers can quickly navigate to other members by using hyperlinks.
  • IDEs organise imports and can add appropriate imports.
  • It can give a warning in case of any error or mistake
  • IDEs are great for generating code or completing the code depending upon previous codes.
  • These environments keep the unit tests running easy
  • Apart from these, there are several other benefits of using IDEs depending upon their types or programming languages.

Top IDEs for C or C++ Developers

Some IDEs are specific to the programming language while others support various programming languages. Because of the C and C++ programming language’s growing popularity and having multiple applications, herein we will discuss the best IDEs for the same. Both of these programming languages are also the most basic and are recognised worldwide. All the IDEs that have been mentioned below not only support C/C++, but also various other languages.

1. Visual Studio Code

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 customisable 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 customisation

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

2. Eclipse

It is one of the most popular, powerful and useful IDEs used by developers for C/C++ programming. It is 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 on Windows, Linux and Mac OS. You can even file a bug on its website if you encounter any issue with 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 and others

3. NetBeans

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

It is a cross-platform source code editor which supports several languages, including markup ones. Sublime Text has Python application programming and slick user interfaces 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 customisable
  • Cross-platform supporting Mac, Windows and Linux
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Auto-completion
  • Plugins and integrations

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

5. Atom

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 is available for this editor which extends its features and makes it more customisable. It also supports Mac OS X, Windows and Linux, and has a very simple interface to work on.

Key Benefits:

  • Cross-platform support
  • Smart auto-completion
  • 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

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 customisable 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 example, functions of compiling and debugging are available because of plugins. Code::Blocks supports 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++ and Fortran

7. CodeLite

It is another good IDE for C or C++ programming. It is open-source software that can run on all major platforms including Windows, Linux and Mac 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 the 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 a developer’s job simple and easy.

Key Benefits:

  • Easy-to-use graphical user interface
  • Allows a single gateway to all components
  • Project manager
  • Highly optimizable
  • Powerful macro assembler
  • Provides fast access to different source code elements like variables and classes 
  • Smart linker
  • Programmers can build custom libraries

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 the MinGW port of GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) or any other GCC compiler. It is supported on Windows OS for 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 third-party 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
  • Provides 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

11. GNAT Programming Studio

GNAT Programming Studio is a highly advanced IDE that is available for you free of cost. GNAT simplifies the interaction between software and its developers and has a GPS which is very easy to use. It simplifies source navigation and even highlights the fundamental ideas in the program. With this, you get advanced support for Ada, SPARK, C, C++ and Python.

Key Benefits:

  • Advance code intelligence
  • Direct interface to GNAT Pro
  • Multiplatform support
  • Supports code refactoring
  • Class browser
  • Drag and drop features
  • Static and dynamic analysis tools

12. MonoDevelop

This is a text editor, where you write desktop and web applications on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X easily. With MonoDevelop, one can also port .NET applications created with Visual Studio to Linux and Mac OS X.

Key Benefits:

  • Multi-platform
  • Advanced text editing
  • Multiple language support
  • Integrated debugger
  • Configurable workbench
  • Create web projects with full code completion

13. QT Creator

QT Creator is a cross-platform IDE, in which you get a free trial version for one month of usage.

Key Benefits:

  • Support multi-platform
  • Debugging
  • Compiling
  • Profiling
  • Code-completion
  • Refactoring
  • Drag and drop functionality
  • Static code analysis

14. KDevelop

KDevelop is an open-source, cross-platform IDE for C/C++ programmers. It is built on modern technology for seamless development. This is compatible with Mac, Linux, Windows and others. With this IDE, you can work regardless of your project size as it is highly extensible.

Key Benefits:

  • Licensed under GNU GPL
  • Supports C/C++, Python, QML, JavaScript and PHP
  • Advanced editor
  • Semantic code analysis
  • Code highlighting and rainbow highlighting
  • Declaration
  • Version control systems
  • Context-sensitive
  • Free of charge

15. SlickEdit

This is a cross-platform IDE that even provides features of commercial source code, text and code editors. SlickEdit supports over 70 languages and has features to change existing lines of code with a new structure.

Key Benefits:

  • Monitor various tabs
  • SmartPaste option
  • Expandable common block structure
  • Create multi-platform GUI dialogue boxes
  • Debugger integration

16. Lazarus

Lazarus is a cross-platform IDE that is used for rapid application development. Lazarus gives a variety of components to use. You can even create complex GUIs with this powerful IDE as it includes a graphical form designer.

Key Benefits:

  • Create open-source and commercial applications
  • Create image viewers, graphics editing software, 3D software and so on
  • Automatic synchronisation
  • Modify existing code
  • Handle large projects
  • Compile and project on any OS
  • Delphi code conversion

Conclusion

Indeed, IDEs are great for programmers to write 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 programmers as each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Also Read: CSS Tips For Developers

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