Looking for a decent IDE for writing C

I use primarily Java, but now I have a situation where I need to touch a big pile of C code - nearly 450k SLOC (I'll try to mod Jagged Alliance 2 by adding a multiplayer mode). Having been accustomed to IDEA for some 2.5 years, I'm looking for an IDE for writing C, which could come even close IDEA in navigation, code completion and refactoring.

If some of you develop both in Java and C/C++, please give me some recommendations. Which IDE (and plugins) should I use for C?

I just finished watching an interview video[/url] (1 year old) discussing the new features in Visual Studio 2005. They were talking about things such as quick docs, parameter info and finding usages as new things in VS2005. Then they also mentioned refactoring and code inspections as some future thing, as a "10 year vision". Is the whole C++ development community 5-10 years behind their time, or is only Visual Studio this backward?


Is your code base C or C++?

I did a quick search for 'emacs refactoring' and the top return was for XRefactory. It appears that the C/Java version is free, while the C++ version is not .

It's likely that nothing as slick as Idea exists for generic C / C++ programming, but the Emacs with suitable plugins for ctags, make, vcs are a good start.


The code base is C. It can be compiled using VS 6.0, VS.NET 2003 or VS.NET 2005.

Thanks for your link. Do you know any other good refactoring plugins? Any experiences about Visual Studio 2005 Express Edition?


Recommend SlickEdit (http://www.slickedit.com). I've used that on large C/C++ projects before. It's one of the more fully featured C/C++ editors out there. A little short of IDEA with respect to productivity and refactoring, though.


PS: Yes, VS has been behind a bit on productivity features. As has most of the C/C++ tools. It is largely a side effect of industry momentum. As these productivity features were being developed, the masses were going towards Java.


Thanks, SlickEdit looks promising. I'll try using it, unless someone knows an even better editor.


Eclipse has a pretty good C++/C plugin. I use it to view C code at times (the only reason Eclipse is even on my machine).


IntelliJ also offers a framework to build support for other languages, not sure if anyone has a C++/C plugin for it yet though.


Visual Studio 2005 has some refactoring support built in, but it's indeed primitive compared to IntelliJ (think Netbeans 5 level).

Here's an article discussing refactoring support in VS 2005: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms379618(vs.80).aspx

Mind that not all those refactorings may be available in the free (Express) edition which is after all a stripped down version of the full product (checking C# Express I see only 2 of them but the rest may be hidden somewhere I haven't looked).

Overall Visual Studio 2005 does feel a bit primitive as a code editor compared to IntelliJ, but that in large part reflects the larger focus on "visual" programming, clicking user interfaces together and filling in some message handlers and things like that rather than writing large sections of code by hand.
Compared to other C/C++ environments I've used though it's extremely powerful and full featured (but those were admittedly a lot older, think Borland C++ 4 and older).

For what it does I like it overall, and I'd recommend it if you're going to do C/C++/C# programming for Windows. The commercial editions are likely well worth the investment (were I to do more than write small demos and test programs in C# for our web services I'd go out and purchase it).

Maybe Borland Developer Studio is more powerful, I've not used recent versions but in the past they were ahead of Microsoft in many areas (but at a price, the product is more expensive and there are some compatibility issues having DLLs compiled with it talk to applications compiled to Microsoft compilers and v.v.).
Since branching off the product division as CodeGear I've however lost track of the company so I can't tell if their products are still as good and innovative as they used to be.
Could however be worth it checking out their free offering as well as Microsoft's and see which you like better.


You can try our C/C++ plugin for IDEA (IDEA v6 or better is needed)


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