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C++ IDE: What Are the Best IDE for C++ Beginners?

Mercy Ugonna Njoku - September 01, 2022


Created in 1985, C++ is a popular programming language that has been used for over 30 years. This object oriented programming language was designed with several functional facilities, including compiling features. It was initially built for systems programming, but today it is an excellent option for many projects in the software development industry. It can be used in creating high-performing applications, such as desktop applications, games, and servers.

C++, built as an extension of the C language, was designed with classes, making its codes reusable. The C++ programming language supports several operating systems and integrated development environments (IDE). As a beginner who’s looking to build an impressive software application, you may be searching for the best IDE for C++ to easily build and launch your product. Use this guide to find the best C++ IDE for beginners.

What Is an IDE?

An integrated development environment (IDE) is a project management software that houses in-built development tools and features that aid the efficient development of software applications. A typical integrated development environment contains basic features, such as automation, code editor, and debugger, that can be accessed through a comprehensive user interface.

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A cross-platform IDE supports multiple programming languages, has more in-built features, and allows an array of extensions so the developer can include any other additional functionality to the environment. For an IDE to be considered a C++ IDE, it must support the C language and have class libraries so the C++ code can be compiled into a machine code and distributed.

What Is the Difference Between an IDE and a Code Editor?

A code editor is a tool with basic features for editing source code. A powerful code editor contains features such as a code base, syntax highlighting, auto code completion, auto-save, and other additional features which can be assessed through a tool manager. A code editor can come as an app plugin, a tool in an IDE app, or a web-based IDE.

An IDE, on the other hand, is a network of in-built tools and libraries, as well as an array of plugins that facilitate the speedy development of a software application from scratch or source code. A smart editor is usually integrated into an IDE. A modern IDE also contains an array of features such as a built-in command-line interface, version control, static code analysis, auto-complete, code refactoring, continuous integration, and deployment tools.

How to Choose the Best IDE for C++ Development

There are several factors to consider when choosing an IDE to build, run, debug or deploy your source code, especially if you’re a beginner with little programming experience using a tricky language like C++ . To avoid dealing with issues associated with using the wrong IDE in your C++ development, consider the core factors listed below.

Inbuilt Features of the IDE

Irrespective of your level of technical experience, you should get an IDE that comes with a compiler, a debugger, an editor, and deployment tools. There are comprehensive IDE that enable beginners to code, build, run, debug, and deploy their source code. These IDE come with an initial code base so the developer focuses on building the program rather than creating the code.

Advanced features for a C++ IDE include advanced code intelligence, code analysis, auto code completion, code refactoring, class browser, and multi-platform support. These features are ideal for absolute beginners who want to jump right into production.

Cost of Using the IDE

Most multi-featured and cross-platform IDE come with a price tag. While there are good cross-platform IDE that you can use for free, you might be limited in features. If you’re a beginner, you can start practicing with an online IDE with basic functionality. These platforms come with easy-to-understand tool windows.

You can run your code, edit and save your work, and even debug it directly from the web. However, some of these IDE are limited in capacity and features so developers working on large-scale projects won’t find it as useful.

Types of Languages and Operating Systems Supported

While some IDE support only one programming language, others can process and run over 60 languages. Getting an IDE that’s tailored to the project you’re building will improve the outcome of your project. Also, some IDE don’t work on all operating systems. While some were specifically built for Linux, macOS, or Windows, others can run on all systems.

There are some advantages to using an IDE that’s specific to your computer’s operating system , especially when you consider that the development tools provided will easily blend with your system so you won’t suffer through system crashes and other performance issues.

Memory and Capacity of Your System

Some IDE have large file sizes and require systems with higher memory space and processing power so you don’t suffer through load time issues. The computer system you choose to use for programming should have at least 256GB of storage space. The memory space should be at least 8GB RAM, and your processing power should be higher than an Intel Core i3.

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If you can secure higher machine specifications, that eliminates lots of processing issues for you. The advantage to having a system with high memory and capacity is that it makes it easy to multi-task, which you’ll most likely do in a comprehensive IDE.

The 5 Best C++ IDE

A man working on a computer program on a laptop.
C++ IDE not only help you speed up the production process, but they help you gain professional programming knowledge too.

If you’re gearing up to build your first or next C++ project, it’s time to do it the right way. It’s time to find out the best C++ IDE that you can use to boost your project development process and outcome. While some of these IDE are free and open source, others are licensed and are accessible only through a fee.

Qt Creator

Qt Creator is an advanced IDE used for C++-based mobile, desktop, and embedded device development. This software model runs on the major desktop operating systems of Linux, Windows, and macOS. The pricing for this software depends on your use. If you’re trying to create embedded devices and microcontrollers, you can do so at no cost. However, for desktop and mobile development or user interface (UI) design, you have to pay a subscription.

What Makes Qt Creator a Good Choice for C++ Beginners?

  • It has an advanced code editor for developing in C++.
  • It has robust libraries and application programming interfaces (APIs) for developing C++-based apps and UI.
  • It comes with popular version control systems like Git and Perforce.

NetBeans

Apache’s NetBeans offers developers free access to editable source files so they can begin building their C++ applications on all Java-supported operating systems. NetBeans also provIDE instructions to configure the IDE’s default style for your C++ project. It also comes with code folding features so you can collapse code blocks. There are useful plugin features to aid with the documentation and completion of code.

What Makes NetBeans a Good Choice for C++ Beginners?

  • There are tutorials to help you learn C++ development.
  • You have free access to a smart editor, templates, and wizards.
  • It makes it easy to compile and run your source code on the platform.

Code:: Blocks

Code:: Blocks is a configurable C++-based free, open source development environment that provIDE and supports development tools, such as major compilers like MSVC++, GNU GCC, Digital Mars, and Clang. With Code:: Blocks, you can develop C++ applications through a cross-platform OS-supported wxWidgets graphical user interface (GUI). You can extend this IDE’s functionality by installing a plugin or coding your own.

What Makes Code:: Block a Good Choice for C++  Beginners?

  • It provIDE learning resources and forums with an active community to help beginners grow.
  • It comes with an advanced debugging system that offers full breakpoint support.
  • It has an easy to use multi-featured C++ based interface

Visual Studio Code

Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code IDE is an open source development software that provIDE updated tools and resources to aid developers with building and deploying C++-based applications at no cost. This cross-platform software allows you to install compilers, debuggers, and other useful C++ libraries and tools. This software application also comes with keyboard shortcuts for easy navigation.

What Makes Visual Studio Code a Good Choice for C++ Beginners?

  • Users have access to a GitHub forum for sharing issues and suggestions.
  • This software allows you to work remotely on any virtual machine (VM) using its remote desktop services (RDS) pack.
  • It has resources to learn about configuration, editing, and debugging.

Eclipse CDT

Eclipse offers developers efficient C++ IDE and development resources to aid with their desktop or cloud-based software development. This open source free development platform is ideal for beginners who need access to regularly updated GUI builders and development tools, whether for individual project development or collaborations. You can even extend the C++ IDE functionality by coding your own plugins using its plugin development environment.

What Makes Eclipse CDT a Good Choice for C++ Beginners?

  • Eclipse CDT offers client support and bug trackers.
  • There are tutorials and online resources to aid newbies.
  • It provIDE workspace set-up and project management resources.

The 5 Best C++ Online IDE

If you want easy access to your project from any device or location, or you want to take advantage of storage optimization, you can take advantage of a web browser IDE when designing your next software project. These are our top online IDE picks for C++ development.

JDoodle Online C++ Compiler IDE

JDoodle is a free online C++ IDE that provIDE users with a comprehensive list of compiling, coding, editing, and running features to facilitate the project process. This multi-programming language IDE provIDE terminals for the database. You can save your project program file online or embed it on any website or platform you choose.

What Makes JDoodle a Good Choice for C++ Beginners?

  • It comes with a documentation page to aid your learning.
  • You can customize your interface theme to suit your needs.
  • It comes with an API service to aid with the execution.

OnlineGBD IDE

OnlineGBD is a beginner-friendly, free, and accessible online integrated development environment that allows developers to compile, run, edit, debug, and execute C++ programs for application development. You can store your projects online and access them from any device or you can share them across platforms.

What Makes OnlineGDB a Good Choice for C++ Beginners?

  • You have access to C++ programming resources to help you learn.
  • You can keep up with C++ IDE trends and updates through the blog.
  • The user interface is plain and easy to navigate.

CodingRooms C++ Online IDE

CodingRooms offers an integrated and collaborative platform for developers to create and deploy C++ programs from any system or location in the world. With this development environment, you’ll have free access to courses, assignments, and classrooms. There are tools available to help you test your code and manage your workspace.

What Makes CodingRooms a Good Choice for C++ Beginners?

  • You’ll benefit from the free templates available in the marketplace.
  • There are real-time classrooms to facilitate coding exercises.
  • It comes with auto-grading features to reduce teaching burdens.

myCompiler C++ Online IDE

myCompiler is a free and easy-to-use multi-language online IDE that provIDE tools for programmers to compile their source codes, run them, and start editing without any installing or downloading hassle. This integrated development environment was designed for users who are working on small-scale projects, as the development system is limited in features and size.

What Makes myCompiler a Good Choice for C++ Beginners?

  • You don’t need to set up a programming environment to get started.
  • It comes with a robust editing system.
  • It comes with program tags for organizing your project files.

Ideone Online Compiler and IDE

Ideone is a free web-based development platform for designing software applications. This IDE supports about 60 programming languages, C++ included. It comes with a compiler and debugging tool for source codes written in the C++ language. Ideone offers users its API services from its Sphere Engine at a fee so they can execute their programs.

What Makes Ideone a Good Choice for C++ Beginners?

  • You’ll be provided with C++ codebase samples and templates.
  • The coding editor comes with features like syntax highlighting.
  • The interface is easy to use.

Can the Best IDE for C++ Help Me Break into Tech?

Yes, using a C++ IDE can help you land a good-paying job in the tech industry, as IDE are necessary for building professional portfolios. This development platform is an opportunity to build your knowledge of programming and software development. You’ll gain access to tools, professionals, and training programs that can help you stand out amongst other players in the industry.

Although there are no standalone courses on C++ IDE, many of the C++ bootcamps integrate this topic into their teaching curriculum. These IDE encourage low-risk entrepreneurship as individual developers are encouraged to design commercial applications using advanced development tools. You can also efficiently collaborate with other developers and cross-functional teams through this platform.

C++ IDE FAQ

What is a C++ IDE?

A C++ IDE, or integrated development environment, is an integrated development platform that provIDE development tools and libraries for programmers to develop and manage C++-based applications. These development environments offer compiling features, build automation, testing, running, debugging, editing, and executing functions to users. Most IDE allow their functionalities to be extended through plugin packages.

Can I use C++ IDE for C?

Yes, you can use a C++ IDE for C. C and C++ have similar programming needs and language syntaxes. Most of the functions needed to configure and use a C++ development environment are also needed for a C program. These languages are both statically typed, have similar code structures and memory management, and are used in high-level systems programming.

Is XCode a good C++ IDE?

Yes, XCode IDE is ideal for C++ development because it provIDE a wide range of resources that eases the configuration of a C++ programming environment for native app development. It makes compiling and debugging your C++ source code efficient. However, XCode is limited by its operating system functionality. It only works on iOS devices and macOS desktops.

What is the best C++ Compiler for beginners?

The best C++ compilers include GNU GCC compiler, Intel C++ compiler, Clang, Borland Turbo C, LLM BSD licenses, Visual C++, NetBeans, Code::Blocks, Dev-C++, and Eclipse. These development platforms make it easy to convert your source code into runnable object oriented programs that can be improved on.

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Mercy Ugonna Njoku

About the author: Mercy, a certified Executive Coach by the International Association of Professions Career College, has a background in accounting and is a veteran content writer who holds a BSc in Business Management from Abia State University. In her writing, Mercy helps people navigate unfamiliar and complex situations in their professional lives so they can thrive. Her hobbies include drawing, working on startup projects, and engaging in discussions.

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