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Best C++ IDEs and Editors in 2022

Posted in C++
C++ IDE

No software developer’s toolbox is complete without an Integrated Development Environment. These software environments do much more than just serve as a convenient place to code - they offer some powerful features that can make your life a lot easier.

We’ll focus on C++ here, and there are many C++ IDEs that can make all the difference to your work or flow. In fact, programmers often take sides when it comes to IDEs and it’s common enough to hear a group discuss which particular one is better (though you should pick what suits you best).

Before we go into what the best C++ IDE is for you, let’s take a look at what an IDE is exactly, and why you should use one. 

What is an IDE?

An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a packaged interface that provides a suite of tools and features that aid development. It is basically a complete package that offers a code editor, a debugging tool and an automated tool.

Most IDEs offer many additional features, but the latter three form the skeleton of an IDE. Some C++ IDE supports only a single language, like IDLE supporting only Python, but most support development in several languages.

Why Should You Use an IDE?

IDEs can go a long way in making the development process easier and quicker. For one thing, they offer all the most commonly used tools in a neat and intuitive interface. Most IDEs will automatically configure parameters as well, meaning you can get started with coding much faster.

Convenience is one of the biggest selling points of IDEs - you can, for example, hover over a keyword and it’ll display documentation information. It’ll also show an error in your coding should you have made one. All of these benefits add up and make for a much less frustrating development experience.

Then there are features like intelligence code completion and automated code generation - nifty processes that can save a lot of time. The IDE will literally finish the tedious aspects of coding, while you can focus on the logic. 

These are only some of the benefits of using an IDE. As you’ll see, each C++ IDE has its own features, and related advantages and disadvantages. Bear in mind that some IDEs here don’t support all platforms, but some here are also among the best C++ IDEs for Windows. They can really make a difference when you’re working on a C++ project.

Best C++ IDE & Source Editors

1. Visual Studio Code

visual-studio

Pros

Cons

  • Offers a large variety of features
  • Available on multiple platforms
  • Github integrated 
  • Good extension support
  • Large selection of plugins may be overwhelming
  • Compatibility issues with some newer devices
  • Advanced configurations may be challenging to set up

Visual Studio Code is a modern, open-source IDE developed by Microsoft. Available for Windows, Linux, and macOS, Visual Studio Code provides features such as a nice command-line interface, high-quality APIs, code snippets, code refactoring, auto code completion, integrated Github, among other things. 

Features:

  • Annotations reporting: Allows developers to extract C# annotations and render them in HTML or store them in XML documents.
  • Auto-hide: Stow documents along the edges of the development environment and pops up docs as developer mouse-over them.
  • Cascading Style Sheets: Full support for creating styles that can be applied to HTML or XML elements
  • Debugging support: Enhanced debugging support for C#, C++, and Visual Basic directly in the environment, as well as support for managed-code and remote debugging.
  • Deployment tools: Allow the developer to take advantage of Windows Installer to deploy applications; supports installation rollback and app advertising;
  • Enhanced automation support: Allows the developer to access and control parts of the IDE programmatically, such as the Code Editor, projects, tool windows, and debugging, building, and deployment tools
  • Macro recording: This allows the developer to record and play macros directly in the development environment.
  • Schemas support: the automatic creation of a schema from an XML document instance

2. Code:: Blocks

code-block

Pros

Cons

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to get started with
  • Runs well on PCs with low specifications
  • User interface isn’t quite as modern as others on this list
  • Manual setup of GNU compiler
  • Not suitable for high processing and data computation

Code::Blocks is a lightweight C++ available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It has all the basic features such as debugging, compiling, and auto code completion. Additionally, it features profiling, code coverage, code analysis, and drag and drop. You can add more features through plugins.

Features:

  • Open Source
  • Written in C++, so no interpreted languages or proprietary libs needed.
  • Extensible: Has several plugins that you can use
  • Compiler support: Supports multiple compilers, including GCC, MSVC++, clang and more
  • Features syntax highlighting, which is customizable and extensible
  • Code folding for C, C++, Fortran, XML and more

3. Eclipse

Eclipse

Pros

Cons

  • Clean interface
  • Extensive collection of support tools and plugins
  • Good for Java programming
  • Initial setup can be time consuming
  • Not all languages perform well
  • High memory consumption

Eclipse is one of the simplest and most powerful IDEs for C++ development. This is a very simple, open-source IDE that is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Beginners will find it very easy to use. It offers features such as debugging, code compiling, auto code completion, profiling, refactoring, static code analysis, and drag and drop.

Features:

  • Coding shortcuts 
  • Autocorrection 
  • Refactoring 
  • Diffing files 
  • Has several plugins
  • JavaDoc facility lets you automatically create documentation

4. CodeLite

CodeLite

Pros

Cons

  • Clang based code completion engine
  • Does not take up too much memory
  • A good collection of useful plugins

 

  • Compatibility issues
  • Not the most user-friendly IDE on this list
  • UI isn’t the most modern compared to others on this list

 

CodeLite is a powerful code editor that supports Windows, macOS, and Linux. It’s open-source and comes with features such as code compiling, debugging, profiling, class browser, static code analysis, code completion tool, and refactoring. This IDE also gives you a RAD tool that lets you build widget-based apps.

Features:

  • Clang based code completion engine
  • JavaScript code completion
  • PHP code completion
  • Word completion (based on open editors)
  • Git, Svn plugins
  • Database Explorer
  • Valgrind Support
  • SpellChecker

5. Sublime Text

Sublime Text

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent interface, easy to read
  • Good performance
  • Very extensible
  • Good choice for beginner programmers

 

  • Git integration can be difficult
  • Installing plugins can be confusing

 

One of the most popular code editors, Sublime Text is an IDE that you can use for many programming languages, including C++. It is a very fast text editor, with a simple UI that makes it easy to use. 

Sublime Text comes with great features such as syntax highlighting, Goto Anything, Goto Definition, Command Palette, Multiple Selections, powerful API, split editing, and instant project switch.

Features:

  • Command Palette: Adaptive matching for quick keyboard invocation of arbitrary commands.
  • Simultaneous editing: Make the same changes to multiple selected areas.
  • Customizability: Offers lot of customization via JSON settings files
  • GoTo Anything: Easily and quickly navigate files, lines and symbols.
  • Auto-completion: Automatically completes codes and variables.
  • Snippets: Save blocks of code that are frequently used and assign them keywords.

6. NetBeans

NetBeans

Pros

Cons

  • Good for debugging and testing code
  • Runner server-based applications are easy
  • Supports the latest Java technologies

 

  • Comparatively poor performance
  • No customization options for plugins
  • Slow debugger

NetBeans has been a popular choice for a C++ IDE, and is open-source and available on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Solaris. Features include refactoring, automatic indentation, syntax highlighting, bracket matching, and code folding. 

Features:

  • Support for the latest Java technologies
  • Smart code editing
  • Rapid User Interface development
  • Support for multiple languages
  • Rich set of community provided plugins

7. Qt Creator

Qt Creator

Pros

Cons

  • QT Designer allows dragging and dropping of widgets
  • Supports declarative UI development through its Qt Quick module
  • Good documentation
  • UI can be overwhelming  
  • Compatibility issues

Qt Creator is a useful C++ IDE for building GUI-based cross-platform software applications for mobile, desktop, and embedded devices. Using this software development tool, you can build high-quality graphical user interfaces and high-performance applications, all while speeding up development. 

Features

  • Design tools: Offers the following design tools: Qt Design Studio, Qt 3D Studio, Qt Designer, and Qt Quick Designer 
  • Integrated analyze rs: QT Creator has integrated numerous analyzers, including Linux Performance Analyzer, Valgrind memory profile, Clang-Tidy, and Clazy
  • Other features include Qt Core, Qt GUI, Qt Multimedia, Qt Multimedia Widgets, Qt Network, Qt QML

8. Brackets

Brackets

Pros

Cons

  • Has a lot of good features
  • Includes a photo editor
  • Live preview makes web development much more convenient 
  • Other options on this list may be a better choice for C++ development
  • Uses a lot of memory

Brackets is an open-source code editor that is used mainly for web development, but you can also use it for C++ by installing a plugin. Brackets is one of the most popular IDEs, loved by a huge number of programmers.

Features:

  • Inline Editor: Brackets enable you to open a window into the code you care about most. 
  • Live Preview: Real-time connection to your browser makes changes to CSS and HTML to instantly see those changes on screen. 
  • Preprocessor Support: Brackets features quick edit and live highlight with your LESS and SCSS files, which will make working with them more comfortable than ever.

9. Atom

Atom

Pros

Cons

    • Sleek, modern UI

 

    • Lightweight

 

  • Autocomplete supports multiple programming languages
    • May not be suitable for advanced requirements

 

    • Compatibility issues

 

  • Some users have reported performance issues

Atom is a modern, powerful IDE, which can be used for many computer programming languages including C++. Available on Windows, macOS, and Linux, it is a very customizable IDE. It has features such as auto-completion, a find and replace feature, file browser, and package manager.

Features:

    • Package manager: Atom has thousands of plugins.
    • Autocompletion: An extensive autocomplete system for many programming languages.
    • File system browser: The file tree and fuzzy finder make opening projects and files very simple.
    • Multiple panes: Split your workspace into multiple panes to compare and edit code across files.

10. Dev C++

Dev C++

Pros

Cons

  • Lightweight
  • Only supports Windows and macOS
  • Supports multiple languages
  • Easy to install libraries
  • Some users have reported performance issues

Dev C++, an open-source IDE, is considered by some to be one of the best C++ IDEs. However, it can be used only on Windows and macOS. It has features like code completion, tool manager, integrated debugging, syntax highlighting, GCC-based compilers, and profiling.

Features:

  • Support GCC-based compilers
  • Integrated debugging using GDB
  • Support for multiple languages
  • Customizable syntax highlighting editor
  • Support of templates for creating your project types
  • Tool Manager
  • Easy installation of add-on libraries

Which is the Best C++ IDE?

The best IDE for C++ will come down to your own preference, largely. There may be some favoritism here or there depending on what you do, but the C++ IDEs listed here should cover all needs.

You could also choose an alternative to a C++ IDE, namely a text editor or command-line interface. Vim and emacs are good choices for these. These are good if you want something faster. Furthermore, IDEs can be difficult to wrap your head around, so the coding process from start to finish might be more cumbersome - hence a text editor instead. Still, the benefits of an IDE are hard to resist.

If you want to know more about these top C++ IDEs, check out their websites. But remember, a good C++ IDE will have lots of features and should perform well. And if you want to boost your C++ knowledge, consider taking a C++ certification!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does C++ Have an IDE?

Yes, there are several IDES for C++, and many of them are widely used. The specific C++ IDE you’ll choose will invariably end up being a personal decision. Don’t rush into making a decision, and try different IDEs before settling on one.

2. What is the Fastest IDE for C++?

In terms of speed, there is a negligible difference between the different C++ IDEs. Speed here mostly depends on what you are doing and your workflow. Different IDEs will offer different results based on that. If you want a lightweight IDE, then perhaps Code Blocks or QTCreator is the right one for you.

3. Which IDE Should You Use for C++?

This will come down to personal preference, what you intend to do and your workflow. Take a look at the IDEs on this list, try them out, and then decide for yourself. 

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Akhtar  Hossain

Akhtar Hossain

Md Akhtar Hossain is a freelance tech writer, eBook writer, web developer, and an aspiring entrepreneur. He loves to write about web design, web development, mobile app development, and online business. Akhtar has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in computer applications. View all posts by the Author

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lotospro
lotospro

BEST IDES
*proceeds to put a text editior as a number 1*

mate know a difference beetwen an ide and a text editior

jabaa
jabaa

Your best IDE is Dev-C++ which was stopped 2015 and doesn't support C++17?

Carlos
Carlos

How come Visual Studio isn't on the list?

Owen
Owen

Don’t know how to create games? Check out IDE to learn how to.

Diego Rodriguez
Diego Rodriguez

Visual Studio Code is not an IDE

jabaa
jabaa

Why not? It has a decent debugger, syntax highlighting and build on button.

Keerthana Manivannan
Keerthana Manivannan

Atom is not an IDE. It's a text editor, we cannot compile and run or debug code in Atom.

Vijay Singh Khatri
Vijay Singh Khatri 552 Points

Hi,
For more detailed information or to know it is a IDE or not? You just need to go through with this link: https://atom.io/packages/ide-c-cpp

Yahya Abdal-Aziz
Yahya Abdal-Aziz

Your entry for "Code::Blocks" isn't styled at the same heading level as the other IDEs, so doesn't appear in your table of contents. (But it does show up on a Google search.)

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