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Top 5 C++ IDE Requirements For Windows App Development

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1. The C++ IDE should come with a C++ Compiler which supports CLANG Compiler

In Windows application development, having a native C++ IDE and compiler that supports the latest Windows features is very important. Some of the IDEs are not specifically designed for C++ development. In fact, some C++ IDEs are designed only for console application developments. Some support only a small subset of features. In modern application development, professional developers need to make sure they choose a strong, capable modern C++ IDE that actively makes their development and deployment processes faster and more efficient.

Be sure that your C++ IDE comes with a CLANG based compiler. Also, check that your IDE also supports other C++ libraries and standards like the very popular Dinkumware standard library, MSBuild, CMake, Ninja support, and popular libraries like Boost and Eigen.

CLANG is considered to be a production quality C, Objective-C, C++ and Objective-C++ compiler when targeting X86-32, X86-64, and ARM. It is a new C/C++ compiler standard (C++98, C++11, C++17, C++20, and C++23) supported by The LLVM Compiler Infrastructure Project and has been a default compiler in recent years for most C/C++ development environments. This means that if you code for a CLANG compiler, most other IDEs, Compilers of Platforms will support your code without any changes. The latest C++17 standard is supported by the most C++ compilers. More information about core language features can be found here.

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We highly recommend you start with or to move to a CLANG Enhanced compiler like the Embarcadero’s C++ Builder, which supports the CLANG (C++11, C++ 17) standard and has its own C++ Compiler, IDE, GUI Designer and more. The C++Builder Standards and Clang Enhanced Compiler features can be found here.

The C++ Builder Community Edition is a free edition and can be used by students, beginners and startups. You can download the Free C++ Builder Community Edition here.

Professional developers can use the Professional, Architect or Enterprise versions of the C++ Builder. Please visit https://www.embarcadero.com/products/cbuilder.

CLANG is supported by many other Development IDEs Like Visual Studio, VS Code, Dev C++. CodeBlocks, CLion etc. For more details, please see our article about the Top 6 C++ IDEs For Building Native Windows Apps.

2. Does your C++ IDE have a visual designer?

When you begin to learn C++ console applications might be easy to learn some basics of the C and C++ programming languages. In Modern C++, you must develop your apps with an IDE which has Visual Designer. One of the best is the award-winning visual designer of the C++Builder VCL and FireMonkey frameworks which really ramps up your productivity.

Top 5 C++ IDE Requirements For Windows App Development. Examples of modern GUIs.

Developers should be able to design fast, cross-platform native apps rapidly with the development IDE. C++ Builder comes with a great visual designer which supports modern components and Live Bindings. C++ Builder has benefitted from agile early design feedback across a range of devices using live preview powered by real data, both on device and in the IDE. It helps simplify the design process, prototype faster and reach a broader range of platforms more quickly.

3. A good C++ IDE should come with modern components and Live Bindings

In modern C++ we mostly refer to a lot of libraries and other tools that helps us to modernize our applications. They also help to save time, to save us creating a lot of code lines, and helps teach us, as well as focus on other areas of our code. One of the strongest parts of C++ Builder is its components and libraries, plus it supports 3rd party components and libraries. GetIt is also a good place for developers who wants to release these kinds of libraries and tools.

The GetIt Package Manager, is built into the RAD Studio IDE that comes with C++ Builder and/or Delphi. The GetIt Package Manager lets you search and browse available packages; C++ or Delphi Components, libraries, components for IoT, styles, sample projects, tools, IDE Plugins, patches and trials or commercial products. From this window you can install, uninstall, update, or subscribe to these packages. Currently it has at least 300 components. With these components, you can easily enhance your apps and reduce development cycles and time spent coding.

Top 5 C++ IDE Requirements For Windows App Development. The GetIt window.

LiveBindings are based on relational expressions, called binding expressions, that can be either unidirectional or bidirectional. LiveBindings is also about control objects and source objects. By means of binding expressions, any object can be bound to any other object, simply by defining a binding expression involving one or more properties of the objects you want to bind together. For example, you can bind a TEdit control to a TLabel so that, when the text changes in the edit box, the caption of the label is automatically adjusted to the value evaluated by your binding expression. Another example is binding a track bar control to a progress bar so that the progress rises or lowers as you move the track bar.

Top 5 C++ IDE Requirements For Windows App Development. The LiveBindings Window being used.

We can connect to dataset fields, alter one or more properties of different objects, and so on. Because LiveBindings propagate, we can even alter properties of objects that are connected to other objects that are bound to a control object.

In C++ Builder, you can easily use visual components of the VCL Visual Component Library framework for Windows apps or FMX FireMonkey framework for Multidevice applications.

4. A good C++ IDE should have an integrated toolchain and professional-level developer tools

Be sure that your IDE has built-in debugging tools that allow you to debug on any supported device.

The Debug Inspector enables you to examine various data types such as arrays, classes, constants, functions, pointers, scalar variables, and interfaces.

These are important parts of debugging,

  • Stepping – Step by step debugging through code
  • Evaluate/Modify – Investigate expressions
  • Breakpoints – Pause and check
  • Watches – Tracking values
  • Exceptions – Displaying the stack trace

For example, C++ Builder IDE has a lot of modern ways using to enhance your development. Here are some of examples to modern C++ features.

  • You can add music, sound, icons, high DPI images, splash screens to your applications easily
  • You can use multi-task coding methods to use all CPU cores in C++
  • You can use new modern libraries for example Parallel Library to use all CPU cores in a computational loop
  • You can develop 3D applications easily by using OpenGL, Viewport3D or you can use other 3rd party engines
  • You can add 3rd party components or you can create your own components by using New Component Wizard
  • You can check sensor and you can easily reach to other peripherals of the device like camera, microphone, motion sensor etc
  • You can use std::wstring, std::u16string or UnicodeString in your applications which means you can support worldwide languages that allows you to develop global applications.
  • You can connect to the latest databases by using database components. For example official FireDAC database component enables native high-speed direct access from Delphi and C++Builder to InterBase, SQLite, MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, DB2, SQL Anywhere, Advantage DB, Firebird, Access, Informix, DataSnap and more, including the NoSQL Database MongoDB.. There are other 3rd party database components too.
  • You can easily add Visual Effects to your Bitmap Images and UI design on design time and on runtime
  • You can use Python in your C++ apps by using Python4Delphi component
  • You can deploy your apps to Windows Store, App Store and to Google Play with only one click.

5. Can the C++ IDE support databases with modern data connections? It should!

Modern applications often have a need to connect to and use a wide range of databases. If you are developing a modern app, your database should be modern too.

C++ Builder has a great official database component, the FireDAC component pack. FireDAC is one of the great components for database connections that comes with RAD Studio, C++ Builder and Delphi. FireDAC is a Universal Data Access library for developing applications for multiple devices, connected to enterprise databases. With its powerful universal architecture, FireDAC enables native high-speed direct access from Delphi and C++Builder to InterBase, SQLite, MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, DB2, SQL Anywhere, Advantage DB, Firebird, Access, Informix, DataSnap and more, including the NoSQL Database MongoDB.

FireDAC is a Universal Enterprise Data Connectivity

Top 5 C++ IDE Requirements For Windows App Development. The FireDAC architecture chart.

To use FireDAC with C++ Builder, be sure that your RAD Studio, C++ Builder version has support for this component. We highly recommend here C++ Builder 10.x or above because of improvements on database connections. If you don’t have this component in your version of C++ Builder or the RAD Studio IDE there is a Trial version of FireDAC that you can test and then you can purchase if it meets your needs. In a new C++ Builder Project, VCL or FMX) you can drag and use its components on your forms. Most experienced programmers prefer to add a new DataModule to their project.

Some database posts about how to connect your C++ apps to modern databases like Interbase, PosgreSQL, MySQL and others are here: https://learncplusplus.org/category/database/

Next, find out how you can convert String to Int C++ in this article about Modern C++ Software.


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About author

Dr. Yilmaz Yoru has 33+ years of coding with more than 30+ programming languages, mostly C++ on Windows, Android, Mac-OS, iOS, Linux, and other operating systems. He was born in 1974, Eskisehir-Turkey. He graduated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Eskisehir Osmangazi University in 1997. One year later, he started to work in the same university as an assistant. He received his MSc and Ph.D. degrees from the same department of the same university. Since 2012, he is the founder and CEO of Esenja LLC Company. Some of his interests are Programming, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, and Artificial Intelligence. He also likes the graphical 2D & 3D design and high-end innovations. He has married, and he is a father of a son.

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