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 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.
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 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 to 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. Points 5 and 6 being my personal favorite.
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 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 their tasks.
Mainly, an IDE includes 3 parts i.e. source code editor, a 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 come with additional features like object and data modeling, unit testing, source code library, and a lot more.
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 provides 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 a 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 their 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 17 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.
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16 best IDEs for C or C++
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.
- Support for Debugging
- Syntax highlighting
- Intelligent Code completion, snippets and code refactoring
- EmbeddedGit Control
- Completely portable
- Easy customization
To know more about Visual Studio Code, you can read the blog “Visual Studio Code Is So Popular, But Why?“
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.
- 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
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.
- 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 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.
- 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
- Plugins and Integrations
Programming Languages Supported: C, C++, Java, and others
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.
- Cross-platform support
- Smart autocompletion
- Package manager
- Plugins support
- Multiple panes
- Option to find and replace text
- Supports command palette
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.
- 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
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.
- Spell Checker
- Word Completion
- Clang Based Code Completion Engine
- Graphical Diff Utility
- Valgrind Support
- Git and Svn plugins
- Database Explorer
Programming Languages Supported: C, C++, PHP, and others
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.
- 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
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 Software Development.
- Support GCC based compilers
- Integrated Debugging
- Syntax highlighting
- Code Completion
- Project Manager
- Editable Shortcuts
- Tool Manager
- CVS Support
Programming Languages Supported: C and C++
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.
- 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
This 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.
- Advance Code Intelligence
- Direct interface to GNAT Pro
- Multiplatform support
- Supports Code Refactoring
- Class Browser
- Drag & Drop features
- Static & Dynamic Analysis Tools
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.
- 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.
- Support multi-platform
- Drag and drop functionality
- Static Code Analysis
14. K Develop
K Develop is an open-source, cross-platform IDE for C/C++ programmers. It is built on modern technology for seamless development. This is compatible with macOs, Linux, Windows & others. With this IDE you can work regardless of your project size as it is highly extensible.
- Licensed under GNU GPL
- Advanced editor
- Semantic code analysis
- Code highlighting & rainbow highlighting
- Version control systems
- Free of charge
This is a cross-platform IDE which even provides features of a commercial source code editor, text editor, code editor. SlickEdit supports over 70 languages and has features to change existing lines of code with a new structure.
- Monitor various tabs
- Raspberry Pi, macOS, Linux & Windows
- SmartPaste option
- Expandable common block structure
- Create multi-platform GUI dialogue boxes
- Debugger integration.
This 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.
- Create open-source & commercial applications
- Create image viewers, graphics editing software, 3D software & so on
- Automatic synchronization
- Modify existing code
- Handle large projects
- Compile & Project on any OS
- Delphi code conversion
So this was it! Indeed, IDE’s 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 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 “27 BEST C & C++ IDES & CODE EDITORS FOR EFFICIENT PROGRAMMING”. We have updated this article with additional infographics. Also, if you want to brush up on your C++ skills, then you can check out “C++ Books- 13 Proven Books To Get Into C++ Programming“.