C and C++ Compilers are great tools to develop when they are paired with a professional C++ IDE for Windows app development. According to TIOBE Index and parallel to these results in many true statistic web sites, C and C++ programming language have more than 20% share in total, C language has more than 12.44% share and if you add Objective-C, Swift, and other C and C++ related programming languages it has about more than 33% share in worldwide and note that these are recorded from online data.
There might be more C++ developers if we include those kinds of other operating systems which are offline or embedded and not included in these records.
The C++ Compiler and C++ IDE features really evolved from the early and auspicious beginnings of Turbo C, C++ and Borland C++. Today we have a wide array of features supporting a rich and diverse amount of OS platforms running on thousands of types of devices encompassing everything from cell phones, watches, cars to a broad collection of IoT (internet of things) specialized hardware. If we look at the C and C++ programming languages it has more than a %33+ share in programming overall and is still the most popular programming language worldwide. It is really amazing to see the ways in which humanity is benefitting from the advances in technology that have accompanied the evolution of our beloved programming language.
Generally, a C++ compiler also compiles C language-specific commands, most of the standard C++ commands like
printf() come from the C language. One of the biggest differences between C and C++ programming languages is, C++ is an Object Oriented Programming (OOP) language that supports using Classes.
In this post we will list the top 3 C++ IDE and compilers mostly for Windows operating system and some of them can be used in other operating systems such as iOS, Android, MacOS, etc.
Table of Contents
1. C++ Builder 11 (RAD Studio 11) Community Edition Free / Professional / Architect / Enterprise
C++ Builder is the easiest and fastest C and C++ IDE for building simple or professional applications on the Windows, MacOS, iOS & Android operating systems. It is also easy for beginners to learn with its wide range of samples, tutorials, help files and LSP support for code. C++ Builder comes with Rapid Application Development Studio, also known as RAD Studio, and C++ Builder is one of the most professional IDE’s that work under RAD Studio. It is the oldest IDE (it began as Borland TurboC in 1990 and was later renamed Borland C++ Builder). Under the Embarcadero brand, it comes with new versions, features, updates, and support. RAD Studio’s C++ Builder version comes with the award-winning VCL framework for high-performance native Windows apps and the powerful FireMonkey (FMX) framework for cross-platform UIs. There is a free C++ Builder Community Edition for students, beginners, and startups.
In 2021, Embarcadero announced the General Availability of RAD Studio 11. This release introduced several new features, enhancements, and quality updates in key areas including:
- Provision apps for Windows 11
- Compile for Android API 30
- Compile for macOS M-series (Apple Silicon) processors
- Design on high-DPI 4k+ screens
- View VCL Styles in design time
- New & modernized VCL components
- Use enhanced remote desktop support to collaborate remotely
Please check this post about the RADS 11 for more details;
You can download the free C++ Builder Community Edition here: https://www.embarcadero.com/products/cbuilder/starter.
Professional developers can use the Professional, Architect or Enterprise versions of C++ Builder. Please visit https://www.embarcadero.com/products/cbuilder.
2. Embarcadero Dev-C++ (Free)
Embarcadero Dev-C++ is free, and is a fast, portable and simple C/C++ IDE for Windows. The free version is great for beginners. If you want to develop professionally it is highly recommended you start with C++ Builder CE version.
Embarcadero Dev-C++ is a new and improved fork (sponsored by Embarcadero) of Bloodshed Dev-C++ and Orwell Dev-C++. It is a full-featured Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and code editor for the C/C++ programming language. It uses the MinGW port of GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) as its compiler. Embarcadero Dev-C++ can also be used in combination with Cygwin or any other GCC-based compiler. Embarcadero Dev-C++ is built using the latest version of Embarcadero Delphi. Embarcadero Dev-C++ also has a low memory footprint because it is a native Windows application and does not use Electron.
Features of Embarcadero Dev C++ include:
- TDM-GCC 9.2.0 32/64bit
- Support GCC-based compilers
- Integrated debugging (using GDB)
- GPROF profiling
- Project Manager
- Customizable syntax highlighting editor
- Class Browser
- Code Completion
- Code Insight
- Function listing
- AStyle code formatting support
- GPROF Profiling support
- Quick creation of Windows, console, static libraries, and DLLs
- Support of templates for creating your own project types
- Makefile creation
- Editing and compiling of Resource files
- Tool Manager
- Devpak IDE extensions
- Print support
- Ability to find and replace facilities
- CVS support
If you are a beginner and you want to learn and develop great C++ projects you can use Dev-C++.
The latest free version of Dev-C++ can be downloaded from here
3. Embarcadero C/C++ Compiler (Free)
Embarcadero C++ Compiler is a free C and C++ compiler for Windows. This package has a compiler and linker, but does not include an IDE. You will need to use an editor to edit codes, and use Command Prompt or PowerShell to run and debug your codes. C++Builder includes C11 language support, the Dinkumware STL (Standard Template Library) framework, and the complete Embarcadero C/C++ Runtime Library (RTL). In this free version, you’ll also find a number of C/C++ command-line tools, such as the high-performance linker and resource compiler.
This free C++ compiler can be downloaded from Embarcadero’s Official Web Page: https://www.embarcadero.com/free-tools/ccompiler.
The free C++ Compiler download includes:
- Embarcadero C++ Compiler (bcc32c/bcc32x)
- Turbo Incremental Linker (tlink32)
- C++ Win32 Preprocessor (cpp32)
- Import Library utility—for creating import libraries from DLLs (implib)
- Librarian for symbol case-conversion, creating extended libraries, and modifying page size (tlib)
- Other useful command-line utilities such as make, grep, and touch
- The Embarcadero C/C++ Runtime Library, and the DinkumwareANSI/ISO Standard Template Library (STL)
Did you know there is still a free Borland C++ Compiler?
Borland C++ is another free C and C++ Compiler for Windows. This package has compiler binaries, including libraries, but lacks an IDE, which means you will need to use an editor and shell commands. This compiler is updated with the free Embarcadero C++ Compiler. It could be described as the ancestor of the Embarcadero C++ Compiler, but despite its age it still works well on Windows 98, XP, 7, 8, Vista, and 10.
This free Embarcadero C++ Compiler can be downloaded from Embarcadero’s Official Web Page : https://www.embarcadero.com/free-tools/ccompiler. If you are editing old code that is giving you compatibility problems on this new compiler, you can refer to this article to download Borland C++ https://edn.embarcadero.com/article/20633.
C++ Builder is the easiest and fastest C and C++ IDE for building simple or professional applications on the Windows, MacOS, iOS & Android operating systems. It is also easy for beginners to learn with its wide range of samples, tutorials, help files, and LSP support for code. RAD Studio’s C++ Builder version comes with the award-winning VCL framework for high-performance native Windows apps and the powerful FireMonkey (FMX) framework for cross-platform UIs.
There is a free C++ Builder Community Edition for students, beginners, and startups; it can be downloaded from here. For professional developers, there are Professional, Architect, or Enterprise versions of C++ Builder and there is a trial version you can download from here.