Posted By: Sven
I want to expand my programming horizons to Linux. A good, dependable basic toolset is important, and what is more basic than an IDE?
I could find these SO topics:
I’m not looking for a lightweight IDE. If an IDE is worth the money, then I will pay for it, so it need not be free.
My question, then:
What good, C++ programming IDE is available for Linux?
The minimums are fairly standard: syntax highlighting, code completion (like intellisense or its Eclipse counterpart) and integrated debugging (e.g., basic
I have searched for it myself, but there are so many that it is almost impossible to separate the good from the bads by hand, especially for someone like me who has little C++ coding experience in Linux. I know that Eclipse supports C++, and I really like that IDE for Java, but is it any good for C++ and is there something better?
The second post actually has some good suggestions, but what I am missing is what exactly makes the sugested IDE so good for the user, what are its (dis)advantages?
Maybe my question should therefore be:
What IDE do you propose (given your experiences), and why?
When originally writing this answer, I had recently made the switch from Visual Studio (with years of experience) to Linux and the first thing I did was try to find a reasonable IDE. At the time this was impossible: no good IDE existed.
Epiphany: UNIX is an IDE. All of it.1
And then I realised that the IDE in Linux is the command line with its tools:
- First you set up your shell
- and your editor; pick your poison — both are state of the art:
Depending on your needs, you will then have to install and configure several plugins to make the editor work nicely (that’s the one annoying part). For example, most programmers on Vim will benefit from the YouCompleteMe plugin for smart autocompletion.
Once that’s done, the shell is your command interface to interact with the various tools — Debuggers (gdb), Profilers (gprof, valgrind), etc. You set up your project/build environment using Make, CMake, SnakeMake or any of the various alternatives. And you manage your code with a version control system (most people use Git). You also use tmux (previously also screen) to multiplex (= think multiple windows/tabs/panels) and persist your terminal session.
The point is that, thanks to the shell and a few tool writing conventions, these all integrate with each other. And that way the Linux shell is a truly integrated development environment, completely on par with other modern IDEs. (This doesn’t mean that individual IDEs don’t have features that the command line may be lacking, but the inverse is also true.)
To each their own
I cannot overstate how well the above workflow functions once you’ve gotten into the habit. But some people simply prefer graphical editors, and in the years since this answer was originally written, Linux has gained a suite of excellent graphical IDEs for several different programming languages (but not, as far as I’m aware, for C++). Do give them a try even if — like me — you end up not using them. Here’s just a small and biased selection:
- For Python development, there’s PyCharm
- For R, there’s RStudio
- And finally, many people love the Sublime Text editor for general code editing.
Keep in mind that this list is far from complete.
1 I stole that title from dsm’s comment.
2 I used to refer to Vim here. And while plain Vim is still more than capable, Neovim is a promising restart, and it’s modernised a few old warts.