A guide to choosing the best C++ IDE : An IDE is a software suite that provides the basic tools to write and test software.  All thanks to fast and easy setup and standardization across tools, an IDE can improve the productivity of the software developers manifold.

It is always hard to choose the right IDE. There are many factors we need to consider like your level of experience, how big you want your project to be and the language you’re going to be using.

If you’re a beginner and want to learn the language, a text editor is a better choice. You can try it in Turbo C++ or even Notepad +. But if you’re looking for a big-time project, using an IDE will save you a lot of time.

Best C++ IDEs

Here’s a list of the top 10 C++ IDE:

NetBeans

It has a huge library of templates for your C/C++ projects and provides the capability to build applications with dynamic and static libraries. Although it is a software developed for Java users, it supports various other languages.  It is capable of running on Linux, OS X, Windows, and many UNIX based operating systems as it is cross-platform.

Pros:

  • Free and Open Source
  • Can be used for large scale projects
  • Supports Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux
  • Qt toolkit support
  • Use development tools on remote hosts to create projects
  • Support for multiple compilers

Cons:

  • Takes time to load
  • Heavy software

Eclipse

Eclipse is a very powerful software used by many developers. It is one of the most user-friendly IDEs and proves easy to use and work with. We can easily combine other features and language support, and Eclipse allows for unlimited customisation and extension.

Pros:

  • Free and Open Source
  • Widely used for project creation
  • Multiplatform
  • Has an excellent GUI (drag and drop functionality)

Cons:

  • Huge in size
  • Cumbersome to add plugins
  • Little Slow

Code:: Blocks

This is a feature-rich software for C, C++ and meets a lot of demands of the developers. It uses plugins to define its capabilities and features. Currently, Code:: Blocks is oriented towards many programming languages When it comes to C/C++ Code:: Blocks are the right choice.

Pros:

  • Free and Open Source
  • Multi-target projects
  • User customizable interface
  • Supports multiple compilers
  • Feature rich

Cons:

  • Poor code completion
  • Much more complicated than most IDEs

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio is a rich, cross-platform development environment that runs on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. There’s a lot of support from various forums like Github, and it can be used on any platform, in any locale, and for any given programming language.

You can read the list of features from the Visual Studio website.

Pros:

  • Free and Open Source
  • Can be used for large scale projects
  • Multi-Platforms including Windows, Android, iOS and the web
  • Intelligent code completion
  • Simple GUI
  • Feature full

Cons:

  • Extremely slow at times
  • Slow launch time
  • It’s not an IDE, but a text editor
  • Many functions rely on extensions

CodeLite

CodeLite is another simple and free IDE available for C++ and supports multiple platforms. It is distributed under the GNU General Public License v2 or later. It gets daily updates and enjoys good support on the GitHub platform. It is compatible with most of the programming languages and the interface is straightforward and easy to use.

Pros:

  • Free and Open Source
  • Supports Static code analysis
  • Multiplatform
  • SpellChecker
  • Word Completion
  • A lot of useful plugins

Cons:

  • Boring UI
  • Doesn’t provide anything unique

Atom Code Editor

This is an IDE which developers can customize to meet their demands. It supports a wide range of languages and looks very minimal. Like most text editors, Atom enables users to install third-party packages and customize the features. Packages can be installed, managed and published via Atom’s package manager app.

Pros:

  • Open Source
  • Really easy to use
  • Integrated Package Manager
  • Developer Tools
  • Good support from Github

Cons:

  • Can’t be used for large scale projects
  • Can’t handle large files
  • Slow

GNAT Programming Studio

GNAT Programming Studio, also known as GPS, simplifies the interaction with your programs. The new version also includes new edit functions, among which is an intelligent autocomplete feature. GPS gives you a direct interface to the GNAT Pro tools and thus easy access to program builders, debuggers, and static and dynamic analysis tools. It also allows the integration of third-party version control systems and can be tailored to your specific project needs.

Pros:

  • Can be used for large scale projects
  • Interactive UI
  • Customizable
  • Autocomplete

Cons:

  • Fewer features
  • Can’t be used for large scale projects

Sublime Text Editor

Sublime Text is a well refined, multi-platform text editor designed and developed for code, markup, and prose. We can use it for writing C/C++ code and offers a great user UI. It supports many programming languages. Users with community-built plugins can add functions.

Pros:

  • Split Editing
  • Multiplatform
  • Project switching support
  • Fast
  • Supports tons of plugins

Cons:

  • Inadequate language support
  • Stability issues
  • Free to use, but registration is paid
  • It’s a text editor, not an IDE

CLion

It’s a very powerful programming software integrated with C/C++ development. Thanks to native C and C++ support, including modern C++ standards, libc++ and Boost, CLion knows your code through and through. Can be a great option if you don’t mind paying.

Pros:

  • Can be used for large scale projects
  • Multiplatform (Windows, MacOS, Linux)
  • Editor Customization

Cons:

  • Not free
  • Not user-friendly
  • Slow

Xcode

This IDE is the best choice for Mac users.. If you’re a developer who wants to create an app for Apple’s App Store, this is what you want. The bottom line is, Apple made it. That should be reason enough to use Xcode.

Pros:

  • Well designed UI
  • Can be used for large scale projects
  • Free
  • Excellent at code completion
  • Quick Access
  • Testing

Cons:

  • Outdated
  • Lack of online support
  • Only for Apple users

Conclusion

Their many other IDEs you can find out there and download from the Internet, but first let’s be clear of two things:

  • Why do you  need an IDE
  • What are you going to use it for

Depending on how big your project is and your style of coding, you can choose the right IDE software for you. Try out some of these free IDE’s before making a choice. The most important thing is to use what you love and love what you use.

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