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Embarcadero Dev C++: Successfully Modernizing A Popular Windows C++ IDE

In October of 2020, Embarcadero sponsored and released a new fork version 6.0 of Dev C++ with improvements that included an updated GCC 9.2.0 compiler with support for Windows 10 and C++17/C++20, high DPI, UTF8 files and improved icons, and a dark theme option. An earlier update in July featured an upgrade of the Dev C++ code to Delphi 10.4.

Why Embarcadero Decided to Update Dev C++

DevC++ was first released in 1998 by Colin Laplace with Bloodshed Software. A new fork, Orwell Dev-C++, was released in 2011 but updates stopped in 2015.

The Embarcadero upgrade migrated Dev-C++ from Delphi 7 to the latest version and also introduced a new, more modern interface. All these improvements placed the prospect of faster and smoother Windows development in C++ and Delphi in the hands of developers worldwide.

A new whitepaper by Embarcadero MVP Eli M. titled “Embarcadero Dev-C++: Successfully Modernizing a Popular Windows C++ IDE” traces the background and implementation of the modernization project from original plan to the new release.

Planning and Implementing The Upgrade

Upgrading Dev-C++ required that a number of factors be taken into account, starting with the question of whether the upgrade would be worth the investment, and whether third-party components, tools, and libraries would be available or would have to be replaced. The questions of how receptive the codebase would be to the upgrade and how much the project itself would benefit from an upgrade were also important to answer.

The upgrade to Dev-C++ unfolded in two stages. The first stage involved making the fewest changes required for the project to compile in the latest version of Delphi. The second stage involved supplemental changes like upgrading the compiler, Unicode support and full support for Windows 10 with Embarcadero Dev-C++ 6.0.

Who Was Involved in The Upgrade?

The coordinator of the upgrade team was an Embarcadero MVP with over 20 years of experience, while the remaining members joined the project from across the United States, Ukraine, Mexico, and New Zealand. The team also included a graphic designer for the new interface design, and a Quality Assurance engineer to verify the functionality of the upgrade.

How Receptive Was The Codebase to The Upgrade?

The upgrade team measured the malleability of the Dev-C++ codebase using a built-in Delphi tool called Method Toxicity Metrics. This tool attaches a toxicity score to each of the functions it scans, and it found that the Dev-C++ codebase was receptive to the upgrade.

A partial list of the functions and their toxicity scores is published in the “Embarcadero Dev-C++: Successfully Modernizing a Popular Windows C++ IDE” whitepaper. 

Were Third-Party Components, Tools and Libraries Up to Date? 

The most important components in the Dev-C++ upgrade were SynEdit, the core syntax highlighting editor control; FastMM4, a custom memory manager; AStyle, a C++ code syntax formatting utility; and TDM-GCC 4.9.2 is a custom group of libraries for Windows development.

The whitepaper also looks in detail at how the Embarcadero team evaluated these and other third-party components, tools and libraries from a modernization standpoint to gauge the viability of the Dev-C++ upgrade, and pieced together the third-party setup. 

What Were The Main Benefits of The Upgrade For The Dev-C++ Project?

Support for VCL styles and high-DPI are just two of the major improvements Dev-C++ underwent as a result of the modernization project. Dev-C++ is more useful, powerful and easy to use, able to keep up with developers and the evolution of C++.

To find out more about how the Dev-C++ team navigated the modernization process, brought the project up to date with Delphi 7 and amplified the capabilities of Dev-C++ while also introducing new functionalities and improvements, download the “Embarcadero Dev-C++: Successfully Modernizing a Popular Windows C++ IDE” whitepaper now!

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