IDE for C++ development

To decide which IDE you will use for C++ development is a very important decision. Tools are important. For programming in C++ I had so far experience with mainly Eclipse, Xcode, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, PyCharm, CodeLite and CLion, and what I used long long time ago, very nice stuff – Borland C++ Builder Professional.

Many of IDEs suitable for C++ are free, and most of them not specifically dedicated to C++, but you can install plugins to extend their usability for C++.

However, there is one issue related to free IDEs which I found developing in C++, Python or PHP. Yes, you can use free stuff, boosted with some plugins, but what always worked for me the best was how much I can get from IDE just out of the box, without messing with external plugins. I found, that for Python I preferred to use PyCharm, for PHP I preferred to use PHPStorm and for C++ Visual Studio, for iPhone development I used Xcode.

My impression is, that an IDE dedicated to specific language will work best. For instance, despite the fact that CLion IDE is not free, I still prefer to use it, because I don’t want to be distracted by some IDE / installed plugins issues, I just want to use IDE as a tool, and focus on development.

My above opinion relates to professional use of IDE, where everything what can decrease stress and waste of time is extremely important and valuable. So, if you want to find the best IDE for development in C++ try at least few of them to see which you like the most. and what works on your OS (not every IDE works correctly, or not at all, on Mac, for instance).

It is not always, that paid IDE is better. I remember, that when I was developing in NodeJS I preferred Visual Studio Code to anything else.

The rule of thumb is: the best IDE is the one you like the most.