Wen I started programming with C++ about 20 years ago Visual Studio was a really great tool to create GUI based C++ applications. As a student I had access to professional version which is still better then the free one. The features I liked and the alternative should defenetly have:
- Compiler already included
- Tool to easily create GUI
- Bundled C++ library/toolkit for writing GUI applications
All that features already included in the IDE, so no need to install them separately. The thing I didn´t like and they should be not present in alternative:
- Huge size (10 GB) or I don´t exactly know
- Applications created with it having external dependencies like net framework, VS redistributable or any other DLLs.
More then 8 years ago I would accept wxDev-C++ as an answer, but unfortunately this tool is dead.
Also the compiler shipped with IDE should be GCC.
Just to show what is meaned by Tool to easily create GUI an example from wxDev-C++: