Chapter 22. Using an IDE with C

An integrated development environment, or IDE, is a program that provides convenient interaction with the tools used to create programs in C under a unified graphical interface. The integration of the various software tools used in program development can increase your productivity dramatically compared to separate command-line tools. The minimum equipment of an IDE includes an editor, a compiler, a linker, and a debugger. Other tools are often included as well, or can be added, such as a design tool for GUI elements or a version-control system to support collaboration with other developers.

IDEs are available for all common programming languages and platforms. Many IDEs support multiple languages and platforms. For a thorough overview of the characteristics of different IDEs, sorted by programming language, see the Wikipedia page on “Comparison of integrated development environments”.

IDEs for C

One of the first IDEs for C was Turbo C, published by the Borland company in 1987. Although it was a text-based program for a single-tasking operating system, it was a complete IDE capable of producing and debugging PC applications. On Windows systems, the dominant IDE today is Microsoft’s Visual Studio. Other important IDEs for the Windows platform include Open Watcom and Pelles C, both of which include a resource editor for creating graphical user interfaces. The Watcom C/C++ compiler generates native DOS and Windows applications. Pelles C is remarkable ...

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