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Some new posters to comp.lang.c want to know about IDEs and editors suitable for C programming and available on their platform. This page lists a few IDEs and editors with a focus on free IDEs that run on Windows and Unix-based systems.

Unless otherwise noted, each IDE/editor will work for different compilers.

An IDE typically consists of an editor with syntax highlighting and ability to compile without leaving the editor. Other common features are project management and debugger interface. The distinction between an IDE and an advanced editor is blurry so this page doesn't attempt to describe it.

In addition to this page, see:

This page's sister lists C resources:Compilers, some of which come with an IDE already.

Free C IDEs and Editors

The sense of free here is financial, however the usage terms vary.  Licence details are provided where known.  There are many, many different IDEs, and this is not a comprehensive list by any means, nor is (lack of) inclusion in this list an (dis)endorsement.

Name Platforms Licence Notes
Anjuta Linux and Unix-like systems. GPL2 GUI-based; features include code autocompletion, calltips for Linux/GNOME function prototypes, GNU debugger integration, dynamic tags browsing.  Listed as missing: CVS integration.
Code::Blocks Studio Many including Windows and Linux. GPL2 GUI-based; many features including GNU debugger integration, code completion.  Extensible through plugins.
CDT (C/C++ Development Tools) for the Eclipse platform Many including Windows and Linux. Eclipse Public License GUI-based; requires Java; many features including GNU debugger integration.  Extensible (is itself a set of extensions to Eclipse).
Dev-C++ Windows only: 95/98/NT/2000/XP. Supports MinGW or Cygwin compilers only, and GDB or Insight Debuggers only. GPL GUI-based; many features including autocompletion, version control, debugger integration.
Emacs Many including Windows and Linux. GPL2 Text-based; extremely extensible through macros to the point that a web browsing extension exists.  Other variants exist including Xemacs - more GUI-based.
KDevelop Linux (and other Unixes?) GPL2 GUI-based; many features including version control, ctags, documentation browser.
Vim Many including Windows and Linux. VIM LICENSE Text-based but supports a GUI-based mode (gvim); a featureful variant of the original and ubiquitous vi Unix editor.  Extensible through scripting; supports macro recording.  Other variants exist including the less featureful (?) nvi.

Commercial C IDEs and editors

(Lack of) inclusion in this list is not an (dis)endorsement, however most of the tools presented below were either mentioned as useful in a comp.lang.c post or added by a contributor who uses or advocates the tool.

Name Platforms Licence Notes
SlickEdit Microsoft Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX, IRIX, HP-UX, Mac OS X Commercial licence with free 15-day trial GUI-based; features include: tag-driven navigation, customizable, code beautifiers, dynamic difference tool, programmable macros, syntax-driven search.
Zeus for Windows Programmer's Editor Windows only. Shareware (45-day trial) Many features including project management, integrated CVS, code completion.
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