C is an excellent, powerful, and general-purpose programming language that offers modern and generic programming features for developing large-scale applications ranging from video games, search engines, and other computer software to operating systems.
There are several text editors out there that programmers can use to write code, but IDE has come up to offer comprehensive facilities and components for easy and ideal programming.
What is an IDE?
An IDE (Integrated Development Environment) editor is a software application that offers an extensive collection of tools for software development, which includes a text editor, debugging tools, code compiler, version control, and other features that help software developers to write, debug, and test their code efficiently.
A text editor is generally an IDE but designed to offer a more feature-rich environment that includes syntax highlighting, code folding, auto-indentation, and code completion, which is a useful feature that helps developers to reduce code errors and write code more efficiently.
In this article, we shall look at some of the best IDEs you can find on the Linux platform that is widely used in many programming languages.
Table of Contents
1. Netbeans for C/C++ Development
Netbeans is a free, open-source, and popular cross-platform IDE for C/C++ and many other programming languages. It is fully extensible using community-developed plugins.
Netbeans includes project types and templates for C/C++ and you can build applications using static and dynamic libraries. Additionally, you can reuse existing code to create your projects and also use the drag-and-drop feature to import binary files into it to build applications from the ground.
Let us look at some of its features:
- The C/C++ editor is well integrated with the multi-session GNU GDB debugger tool.
- Support for code assistance
- C++11 support
- Create and run C/C++ tests from within
- Qt toolkit support
- Support for automatic packaging of compiled applications into .tar, .zip, and many more archive files
- Support for multiple compilers such as GNU, Clang/LLVM, Cygwin, Oracle Solaris Studio, and MinGW
- Support for remote development
- File navigation
- Source inspection
Code::Blocks is a free, highly extensible, and configurable, cross-platform C++ IDE built to offer users the most demanded and ideal features. It delivers a consistent user interface and feels.
And most importantly, you can extend its functionality by using plugins developed by users, some of the plugins are part of the Code::Blocks release, and many are not, written by individual users not part of the Code::Block development team.
Its features are categorized into a compiler, debugger, and interface features and these include:
- Multiple compiler support including GCC, clang, Borland C++ 5.5, digital Mars plus many more
- Very fast, no need for makefiles
- Multi-target projects
- A workspace that supports the combining of projects
- Interfaces GNU GDB
- Support for full breakpoints including code breakpoints, data breakpoints, breakpoint conditions plus many more
display local functions symbols and arguments
- custom memory dump and syntax highlighting
- Customizable and extensible interface plus many more other features including those added through user-built plugins
3. Eclipse CDT(C/C++ Development Tooling)
Eclipse is a well-known open-source, cross-platform IDE in the programming arena. It offers users a great GUI with support for drag and drop functionality for easy arrangement of interface elements.
The Eclipse CDT is a project based on the primary Eclipse platform and it provides a fully functional C/C++ IDE with the following features:
- Supports project creation.
- Managed build for various toolchains.
- Standard make build.
- Source navigation.
- Several knowledge tools such as call graph, type hierarchy, in-built browser, and macro definition browser.
- Code editor with support for syntax highlighting.
- Support for folding and hyperlink navigation.
- Source code refactoring plus code generation.
- Tools for visual debugging such as memory, and registers.
- Disassembly viewers and many more.
4. CodeLite IDE
Some of its main features include:
- Code completion offers two code completion engines.
- Supports several compilers including GCC, clang/VC++.
- Displays errors as code glossary.
- Clickable errors via the build tab.
- Support for LLDB next-generation debugger.
- GDB support.
- Support for refactoring.
- Code navigation.
- Remote development using built-in SFTP.
- Source control plugins.
- RAD (Rapid Application Development) tool for developing wxWidgets-based apps plus many more features.
5. Bluefish Editor
Bluefish is more than just a normal editor, it is a lightweight, fast editor that offers programmers IDE-like features for developing websites, writing scripts, and software code. It is multi-platform, runs on Linux, Mac OSX, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, and Windows, and also supports many programming languages including C/C++.
It is feature-rich including the ones listed below:
- Multiple document interfaces.
- Supports the recursive opening of files based on filename patterns or content patterns.
- Offers a very powerful search and replace functionality.
- Snippet sidebar.
- Support for integrating external filters of your own, pipe documents using commands such as awk, sed, and sort plus custom-built scripts.
- Supports full-screen editing.
- Site uploader and downloader.
- Multiple encoding support and many other features.
6. Brackets Code Editor
Brackets is a modern and open-source text editor designed specifically for web design and development. It is highly extensible through plugins, therefore C/C++ programmers can use it by installing the C/C++/Objective-C pack extension, this pack is designed to enhance C/C++ code writing and to offer IDE-like features.
7. Atom Code Editor – Deprecated
Atom is also a modern, open-source, multi-platform text editor that can run on Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X. It is also hackable down to its base, therefore users can customize it to meet their code-writing demands.
It is fully featured and some of its main features include:
- Built-in package manager.
- Smart auto-completion.
- In-built file browser.
- Find and replace functionality and many more.
8. Sublime Text Editor
Sublime Text is a well-defined, multi-platform text editor designed and developed for code, markup, and prose. You can use it for writing C/C++ code and offers a great user interface.
Its features list comprises of:
- Multiple selections
- Command palette
- Goto anything functionality
- Distraction-free mode
- Split Editing
- Instant project switching support
- Highly customizable
- Plugin API support based on Python plus other small features
9. JetBrains CLion
CLion is a non-free, powerful, and cross-platform IDE for C/C++ programming. It is a fully integrated C/C++ development environment for programmers, providing Cmake as a project model, an embedded terminal window, and a keyboard-oriented approach to code writing.
It also offers a smart and modern code editor plus many more exciting features to enable an ideal code-writing environment and these features include:
- Supports several languages other than C/C++
- Easy navigation to symbol declarations or context usage
- Code generation and refactoring
- Editor customization
- On-the-fly code analysis
- An integrated code debugger
- Supports Git, Subversion, Mercurial, CVS, Perforce(via plugin), and TFS
- Seamlessly integrates with Google test frameworks
- Support for Vim text editor via Vim-emulation plugin
10. Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code Editor
Visual Studio is a rich, fully integrated, cross-platform development environment that runs on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. It was recently made open-source to Linux users and it has redefined code editing, offering users every tool needed for building every app for multiple platforms including Windows, Android, iOS and the web.
It is feature-full, with features categorized under application development, application lifecycle management, and extend and integrate features. You can read a comprehensive features list from the Visual Studio website.
KDevelop is just another free, open-source, and cross-platform IDE that works on Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, Windows, Mac OSX, and other Unix-like operating systems. It is based on the KDevPlatform, KDE, and Qt libraries. KDevelop is highly extensible through plugins and feature-rich with the following notable features:
- Support for Clang-based C/C++ plugin
- KDE 4 config migration support
- A revival of Oketa plugin support
- Support for different line editings in various views and plugins
- Support for Grep view and Uses widget to save vertical space plus many more
12. Geany IDE
Geany is a free, fast, lightweight, and cross-platform IDE developed to work with few dependencies and also operate independently from popular Linux desktops such as GNOME and KDE. It requires GTK2 libraries for functionality.
Its features list consists of the following:
- Support for syntax highlighting
- Code folding
- Call tips
- Symbol name auto-completion
- Symbol lists
- Code navigation
- A simple project management tool
- In-built system to compile and run a users code
- Extensible through plugins
13. Anjuta DevStudio – Discontinued
Anjuta DevStudio is a simple GNOME yet powerful software development studio that supports several programming languages including C/C++.
It offers advanced programming tools such as project management, GUI designer, interactive debugger, application wizard, source editor, version control plus so many other facilities. In additionally, to the above features, Anjuta DevStudio also has some other great IDE features and these include:
- Simple user interface
- Extensible with plugins
- Integrated Glade for WYSIWYG UI development
- Project wizards and templates
- Integrated GDB debugger
- In-built file manager
- Integrated DevHelp for context-sensitive programming help
- Source code editor with features such as syntax highlighting, smart indentation, auto-indentation, code folding/hiding, text zooming plus many more
14. The GNAT Programming Studio
The GNAT Programming Studio is a free easy-to-use IDE designed and developed to unify the interaction between a developer and his/her code and software.
Built for ideal programming by facilitating source navigation while highlighting important sections and ideas of a program. It is also designed to offer a high level of programming comfortability, enabling users to develop comprehensive systems from the ground.
It is feature-rich with the following features:
- Intuitive user interface
- Developer friendly
- Multi-lingual and multi-platform
- Flexible MDI(multiple document interface)
- Highly customizable
- Fully extensible with preferred tools
15. Qt Creator
Qt Creator is a free, cross-platform IDE designed for the creation of connected devices, UIs, and applications. Qt creator enables users to do more creation than actual coding of applications.
It can be used to create mobile and desktop applications, and also connected embedded devices.
Some of its features include:
- Sophisticated code editor
- Support for version control
- Project and build management tools
- Multi-screen and multi-platform support for easy switching between build targets plus many more
16. Emacs Editor
Emacs is a free, powerful, highly extensible, and customizable, cross-platform text editor you can use on Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows, and Mac OS X.
The core of Emacs is also an interpreter for Emacs Lisp which is a language under the Lisp programming language. As of this writing, the latest release of GNU Emacs is version 27.2 and the fundamental and notable features of Emacs include:
- Content-aware editing modes
- Full Unicode support
- Highly customizable using GUI or Emacs Lisp code
- A packaging system for downloading and installing extensions
- An ecosystem of functionalities beyond normal text editing including a project planner, mail, calendar, and newsreader plus many more
- A complete built-in documentation plus user tutorials and many more
SlickEdit (previously Visual SlickEdit) is an award-winning commercial cross-platform IDE created to enable programmers the ability to code on 7 platforms in 40+ languages. Respected for its feature-rich set of programming tools, SlickEdit allows users to code faster with complete control over their environment.
Its features include:
- Dynamic differencing using DIFFzilla
- Syntax expansion
- Code templates
- Custom typing shortcuts with aliases
- Functionality extensions using Slick-C macro language
- Customizable toolbars, mouse operations, menus, and key bindings
- Support for Perl, Python, XML, Ruby, COBOL, Groovy, etc.
18. Lazarus IDE
Lazarus IDE is a free and open-source Pascal-based cross-platform visual Integrated Development Environment created to provide programmers with a Free Pascal Compiler for rapid application development. It is free for building anything including e.g. software, games, file browsers, graphics editing software, etc. irrespective of whether they will be free or commercial.
Feature highlights include:
- A graphical form designer
- 100% freedom because it is open source
- Drag & Drop support
- Contains 200+ components
- Support for several frameworks
- A built-in Delphi code converter
- A huge welcoming community of professionals, hobbyists, scientists, students, etc.
MonoDevelop is a cross-platform and open-source IDE developed by Xamarin for building web and cross-platform desktop applications with a primary focus on projects that use Mono and .Net frameworks. It has a clean, modern UI with support for extensions and several languages right out of the box.
MonoDevelop’s feature highlights include:
- 100% free and open-source
- A Gtk GUI designer
- Advanced text editing
- A configurable workbench
- Multi-language support e.g. C#, F#, Vala, Visual Basic .NET, etc.
- Unit testing, localization, packaging, deployment, etc.
- An integrated debugger
Gambas is a powerful free and open-source development environment platform based on a Basic interpreter with object extensions similar to those in Visual Basic. To greatly improve its usability and feature set its developers have several additions in the pipeline such as an enhanced web component, a graph component, an object persistence system, and upgrades to its database component.
Among its several current feature highlights are:
- A Just-in-Time compiler
- Declarable local variables from anywhere in a function’s body
- Smooth scrolling animation
- Gambas playground
- JIT compilation in the background
- Support for PowerPC64 and ARM64 architectures
- Built-in Git support
- Auto-closing of braces, markups, strings, and brackets
- A dialog for inserting special characters
21. The Eric Python IDE
The Eric Python IDE is a full-featured Python IDE written in Python based on the Qt UI toolkit to integrate with Scintilla editor control. It is designed for use by both beginner programmers and professional developers and it contains a plugin system that enables users to easily extend its functionality.
Its feature highlights include:
- 100% free and open-source
- 2 tutorials for beginners – a Log Parser and Mini Browser application
- An integrated web browser
- A source documentation interface
- A wizard for Python regular expressions
- Graphic module diagram import
- A built-in icon editor, screenshot tool, difference checker
- A plugin repository
- Code autocomplete, folding
- Configurable syntax highlighting and window layout
- Brace matching
22. Stani’s Python Editor
Stani’s Python Editor is a cross-platform IDE for Python programming. It was developed by Stani Michiels to offer Python developers a free IDE capable of call tips, auto-indentation, PyCrust shell, source index, blender support, etc. It uses a simple UI with tabbed layouts and integration support for several tools.
Stani’s Python Editor’s features include:
- Syntax coloring & highlighting
- A UML viewer
- A PyCrust shell
- File browsers
- Drag and drop support
- Blender support
- PyChecker and Kiki
- wxGlade right out of the box
- Auto indentation & completion
23. Boa Constructor
Boa Constructor is a simple free Python IDE and wxPython GUI builder for Linux, Windows, and Mac Operating Systems. It offers users with Zope support for object creation and editing, visual frame creation and manipulation, property creation and editing from the inspector, etc.
Feature highlights include:
- An object inspector
- A tabbed layout
- A wxPython GUI builder
- Zope support
- An advanced debugger and integrated help
- Inheritance hierarchies
- Code folding
- Python script debugging
Graviton is a free and open-source minimalist source code editor built with a focus on speed, customizability, and tools that boost productivity for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It features a customizable UI with colorful icons, syntax highlighting, auto-indentation, etc.
Graviton’s features include:
- 100% free and open-source
- A minimalist, clutter-free User Interface
- Customizability using themes
- Zen mode
- Full compatibility with CodeMirror themes
MindForger is a robust free and open-source performance-driven Markdown IDE developed as a smart note-taker, editor, and organizer with respect for the security and privacy of users. It offers many features for advanced note-taking, management, and sharing such as tag support, data backup, metadata editing, Git and SSH support, etc.
Its features include:
- Free and open source
- Supports several encryption tools e.g. ecryptfs
- Sample mapper
- Automatic linking
- HTML preview and zooming
- Support for tags, metadata editing, and sorting
26. Komodo IDE
Check out some of the following key features of Komodo IDE.
- A powerful editor with syntax highlighting, autocomplete, and more.
- A visual debugger to debug, inspect, and test your code.
- Support for Git, Subversion, Mercurial, and more.
- Useful add-ons for customizing and extending features.
- Set your own workflow using easy file and project navigation.
27. VI/VIM Editor
Vim an improved version of the VI editor, is a free, powerful, popular, and highly configurable text editor. It is built to enable efficient text editing and offers exciting editor features for Unix/Linux users, therefore, it is also a good option for writing and editing C/C++ code.
To learn how to use Vim editor in Linux, read our following articles:
Generally, IDEs offer more programming comfort than traditional text editors, therefore it is always a good idea to use them. They come with exciting features and offer a comprehensive development environment, sometimes programmers are caught up in choosing the best IDE to use for C/C++ programming.
There are many other IDEs you can find out and download from the Internet, but trying out several of them can help you find that which suits your needs.