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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++:

enter image description here

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  • What do you mean by "GUI API"?
    – einpoklum
    Feb 14, 2023 at 17:12
  • @einpoklum Since C++ has no std::gui you need to use any external API to create GUI, for example wxWidgets or QT, but I personally not a fan of QT.
    – convert
    Feb 14, 2023 at 17:15
  • But what does the library you use for GUI have to do with the IDE you write your program with?
    – einpoklum
    Feb 14, 2023 at 20:31
  • @einpoklum The IDE should contain that library and tools to build GUI based applications.
    – convert
    Feb 14, 2023 at 20:38
  • Ah, ok. So, I've edited to reflect your explanation.
    – einpoklum
    Feb 14, 2023 at 20:43

2 Answers 2

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There are for sure commercial reasons for which Microsoft invested so much in Visual Studio IDE, and besides it's growing every day more, keeps being very hard to beat in functionalities IMHO. Take as an example the flexibility of the debug environment.

Anyway, some years ago, I found myself too that wxDev-C++ was a bit abandoned. Looking for a wxWidgets development environment, I tried among the others CodeLite, which released the latest major release one month before this writing.

Wed, 11 Jan 2023 10:00:00 GMT CodeLite 17.0 is now available for download

Among the features:

  • You can direct it to use many different compilers you can have on your system, as GCC - note that I didn't find the auto location of compilers working always perfectly, maybe because of the custom setup you can have. You can however install the IDE with a blind setting and later from the menu Settings | Build Settings set the additional path
  • It's a quite clean IDE, unobtrusive, and with some helpful plugins
  • wxWidgets support already integrates wxCrafter
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  • But I am searching for an IDE which has all that plugins and compiler included.
    – convert
    Feb 14, 2023 at 11:20
  • @convert I think they're less common, maybe to not have to bundle a complex set of tools that can have its own release cycle ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I just considered you could use one from mingw-w64.org like the nice compact w64devkit
    – LuC
    Feb 14, 2023 at 11:29
  • But I don´t want to instal compiler and IDE separatly. This is the bigest and for me personaly the only advantage of Visual Studio that it has everithing included.
    – convert
    Feb 14, 2023 at 11:34
  • @convert that was true for VS only in the past. I'd dare to say that in the last ten years or so, things changed radically: VS Installer downloads and installs compilers on setup, and the same goes for updates, of course. Then there's the setting for multiple compilers, supported by any modern IDE: that's another good reason to not have a fixed and bundled compiler with any of them.
    – LuC
    Feb 14, 2023 at 15:12
  • But instaling compiler and plugins is a pain in the as, so I prefer to have it all instaled at once and no need to do any configurations.
    – convert
    Feb 14, 2023 at 17:12
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Another solution, with an IDE and bundled C compiler, likely forked off Dev-Cpp is Embarcadero Dev-C++

The last release is from January 2021, so the compiler (TDM-GCC) is a bit outdated, with respect to the solutions based on an IDE that lets you choose your compiler.

However, note that you can still add other compilers even to this IDE, so with a distribution like the aforementioned w64devkit you can download the fresh new compiler, unzip it anywhere you like, and add its main directory to the IDE (menu Tools | Compiler Options | + Add a compiler set by folder).

That is easy: this is still true with many other IDEs, like CodeLite, etc.

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  • I know about Embarcadero Dev-Cpp, but it has no suport for GUI.
    – convert
    Feb 15, 2023 at 11:14
  • One more try: ultimatepp.org - This has GCC and GUI development support :D
    – LuC
    Feb 15, 2023 at 12:49
  • A correction: it supports GCC, but the bundled compiler is Clang
    – LuC
    Feb 15, 2023 at 12:59
  • That U++ is not really userfriendly as I have not found how to start a new project. Also have not found any tool for building GUI and building GUI manually is not a solution.
    – convert
    Feb 15, 2023 at 13:56
  • Using a new IDE can be a task if you used mostly another one. With U++ you have to select a new app from the initial list, like "MyApp" and then assign a location. Specifying that your project has a layout generates a .lay file, which will be opened in the GUI by the layout editor, like in their screenshots ultimatepp.org/www$uppweb$idess$en-us.html_4.png They provided tutorial and examples - Learning a new framework can then be challenging as well, so if you want to stay with wxWidgets you can still consider CodeLite or Code::Blocks
    – LuC
    Feb 15, 2023 at 14:59

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