Regardless of your experience level in C++ programming, learning about the best C++ IDEs will benefit you.
C++ enjoyed immense popularity among programmers for an array of development projects. While newbies might find it a tricky language, numerous possibilities await the programmers upon mastering it.
Programming in this language can become easier for you with assistance from high-quality IDEs for code compilation, debugging, and programming processes. Almost all programmers use it to save time and bypass complexity.
Continue reading to find out about the best C++ IDEs to try this year.
What Are IDEs?
IDE is the full form of the integrated development environment. Programmers use this digital platform for software, hardware, and other program development tasks. As you use IDE while coding, its built-in tools, and components save you valuable time while increasing your overall productivity.
Besides helping you write and develop new applications without a manual configuration and feature integration, IDEs are also efficient in code editing, compiling, and debugging.
You will find three major components in most IDEs: a source code editor, an automated tool for building and compiling, and a debugger. With their help, programmers can automatically complete code writing and get the syntax highlighted for better readability. IDEs can also perform tasks like automatic compilation and error identification.
Some gifted and seasoned programmers prefer to develop their IDE, consisting of all their favorite features. Nevertheless, most individual developers and development companies opt for a pre-configured IDE with all the necessary attributes.
Coming to C++ IDEs, these offer a bundle of tools to the developers in a single environment. Thus, there is no need to install different packages for separate functionalities. People usually utilize these to work with application-specific platforms and make new software, web pages, apps, etc.
The Functions of IDEs
As a developer, IDEs make the development process quicker and easier for you. In it, you can gain access to the most popular tools and packages in a single place. Hence, you can efficiently manage your development projects with a simple and intuitive interface.
The USP of an IDE is to offer maximum convenience to the users during coding and development. It has the keyword documentation needed in programming and finds errors in your code that could have made the whole project undeployable.
Due to all these features, new learners can execute codes more productively and efficiently. Attributes such as auto-completion and code generation save your time and enhance productivity. Listed below are some other crucial functions of IDEs:
- Offers simple editing environments for quick and efficient coding.
- Comes with various tools and features to avoid mistakes, provide shortcuts, and organize resources.
- Makes sure it takes less time and effort from your end to complete a project.
- Provides hyperlinks to ensure quick navigation to different members of the programming team.
- Warns you of any mistakes or errors during code writing.
- Generates codes and automatically completes them based on earlier codes.
- Makes unit test running a seamless process.
- Supports importing data from other platforms.
Must-Have Features of an Ideal IDE
With so many IDEs available now, developers often find themselves in a sticky situation when they have to choose one for their team or themselves. To ease this task, we bring you some useful features that a well-performing IDE should have:
#1. The IDE must be compatible with the latest version of the OS that you use. If you use Windows, the IDE should be compatible with Win 11, 10, 7, etc.
#2. The C++ IDE you want to use should have all features to help you achieve your goal. For small projects, a small compiler should do. However, large projects will need a fully-featured IDE.
#3. You require an IDE with a premium-quality visual designer to ensure modern and professional-looking C++ app screens. This can make your app look great on any device.
#4. Debugging is another crucial feature to look for in your C++ IDE. Platforms with built-in Debugging tools are perfect for inspecting data types.
#5. Having an IDE with modern components, tools and libraries will help you become more functional and achieve maximum efficiency. These will let you develop the program faster by allowing you to focus on code writing only.
#6. Since development cycles involve numerous steps, getting an IDE with a C++ application deployment management feature is highly beneficial. Such IDEs help in professional app deployment for securely setting up packages for the OS.
#7. The support of C++ IDE to the latest Windows UI visuals is another vital factor to consider. This helps the developers see the visuals during design and code the best UI forms during development.
Here is a list of the best C++ IDEs you can choose from for any development or programming work.
Are you looking for a proprietary IDE with a free trial and cross-platform compatibility? In that case, C++Builder by Embarcadero can be an excellent option for you and your development team.
It empowers you with a platform-native experience for your users as you need to design the interfaces only once. Thus, you must invest half the time or even less than that in development.
- Support for Win 11 with the latest responsive controls
- Develop iOS applications
- Plugins to extend the feature of IDE
- Native connection to 20+ databases, including Oracle, MySQL, and SQL Server
- Integration support for MSBuild, CMake, and Ninja project
- Better remote desktop support for IDE and VCL
Moreover, this IDE lets you access the Boost libraries, manage databases and integrate various version control tools.
Microsoft Visual Studio is an IDE that is useful for programmers of C/C++ and many other popular languages. Individual developers can use the free Express edition of this IDE, while teams need to opt for a paid Pro plan. It offers a lightweight and simplified installation process, and you can use it for desktop, Linux, mobile, and game development.
- Compatible with C++11, C++14, and some C++17 attributes
- Market leader in performance, security, and build throughput
- Transfer existing C++ libraries to different Windows, Android, Linux, iOS
- Offers unmatchable debugging experience regardless of the language
While using this IDE, you can readily refactor existing code, browse through your important files and analyze code definitions.
Another efficient addition to this list is CodeLite. This free and open-source IDE supports C/C++. The editor of this platform is built based on the open-source Scintilla project. Since it uses wxWidgets cross-platform toolkit, users can run it on Windows, macOS, Linux, and FreeBSD.
The comprehensive but straightforward user interface of CodeLite allows you to perform tasks like code completion, refactoring, project management, syntax highlighting and debugging. It supports integration with Git, Subversion, and other source code management systems.
- Support for static code analysis
- Spell checker for flawless coding
- Automatic code completion
- Numerous useful plugins
Developers can also use the wxWidgets creation tool in this IDE to easily design cross-platform GUIs.
You can think of it as a combination of an advanced editor and semantic code analysis tool. It also offers different workflows to improve the code’s quality, verification, and deployment.
- Code highlighting and rainbow highlighting
- Support for Version control systems
- Context-sensitive coding facility
- Open-source, free of cost download
No matter what your project size is, you can take help from this highly extensible C++ IDE. Furthermore, it runs on major operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
CLion by JetBrains
CLion is a commercial IDE for C/C++ languages with cross-platform support. It boasts impressive programmer-friendly features, such as code analysis, project modeling, intelligent code assistance, and CMake support. After all, this is one of the few IDEs that let you code on your local system but allows the compilation on remote servers.
- Highlighting syntax for readability
- Easy switching from one language to another
- Debugging functionality
- Smart code completion
- Support for Git, CVS, Mercurial, Perforce, and TFS
- A rich collection of plugins to choose from
- Find and replace context and symbols
- Code generation
While you can only use C and C++ on CLion, its parent company does offer different IDE frameworks for the other popular programming languages.
Eclipse is a robust, popular, and valuable IDEs for C/C++ programmers and developers. It would help if you only had the minimum efforts to run this platform for your development and coding tasks. Historically, people used it for the Java language. However, now you can perform tasks in various languages on it.
- Outstanding graphical user interface (GUI)
- Smart and automatic code completion
- Drag-and-drop feature for quick editing
- Compatible for static code analysis
- Included productivity boosters
- Git integration support and rich community
Whether you work on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS, you are all good to run Eclipse IDE on it. Furthermore, users can file a bug after encountering any issue with this IDE or compiler after visiting the official website.
Do you want to use an IDE that supports modern C++ code development? In that case, Cevelop is your one-stop solution for it. This IDE is an extension of Eclipse CDT but with a bunch of additional features: new refactorings, CUTE unit testing, support for Test Driven Development, quick code fixes, etc.
- Test result visualization with red/green bar
- Template information view
- Difference viewer for failed tests
- Tools to maintain the latest ISO C++ standard
- Code coverage visualization
- Namespace related refactorings
- Constificator to write const-correct code
- Exclusive access to Includator
Only by downloading Cevelop, can you get all the plugins required to develop modern C++ code. It also comes with tools for code upgrading to C++11/14.
Dev C++ is another open-source entry in this list. This lightweight C++ IDE is the best for programmers learning the language or beginning their career. Besides C++, its support extends to the C language.
- Syntax highlighting feature
- GUI building
- Lightweight and free to download IDE
- Highly interactive code editor
- Effortless switching between files
Moreover, you can also take its assistance even if you are an advanced developer. However, you must remember that Dev C++ only supports platforms like Windows and AlphaLinux. If you use Mac OS or Linux, you cannot use this IDE for development and programming tasks.
You might know GNAT Programming Studio as GPS. This IDE allows you to interact with your programs in the most simplistic manner. The latest version of the platform offers a variety of edit functions, including an intelligent autocompletion.
- Multiplatform support
- Code refactoring
- Advance code intelligence
- Direct interface to the Pro version
- Class browser
- Drag and drop functionality
- Suitable for large-scale projects
- Interactive UI and customization availability
- Support for code autocompletion
GNAT Studio or GPS gives you direct access to various GNAT Pro tools, such as program builders, debuggers, and static and dynamic analysis tools. You can also integrate different version control systems from third parties into it. This multi-language IDE follows a direct scripting approach for integrating added tools and meeting your workflow needs.
Code::Blocks is an open-source IDE developed as a GUI toolkit with the help of wxWidgets. This highly customizable and extendible IDE is suitable for all major platforms, including Windows, Linux, and Mac.
- Smart code completion
- Full-featured debugger
- Easy navigation through the platform
- Support for C, C++, and Fortran
- Integrated smart syntax highlighting
To add a function to this IDE, all you need to do is to install or code a plugin. This platform supports several pre-built and custom plugins. So, you can easily tweak the IDE as your choice and seamlessly navigate through its tabbed interface.
Every programmer, except some seasoned ones, needs help from an IDE to write codes and develop programs and applications. However, you should choose the right IDE with the necessary features and optimization facilities for the best experience.
Here, we discussed some popular C++ IDEs containing valuable features such as code completion, refactoring, syntax highlighting, and debugging. Now, picking the right one for your project and platform has become more accessible. You may check out IDEs for mobile app development.