Version 1.0 of JetBrains' CLion IDE will include C/C++ support

JetBrains development tool supports the popular programming languages, but won't easily displace Eclipse, Visual Studio

With its CLion IDE, development tools vendor JetBrains is adding C and C++ to its roster of supported languages. But the company might have a hard time persuading developers to switch over from Eclipse or Visual Studio IDEs, an analyst said.

CLion is geared for building applications on Linux, OS X, or Windows, offering a smart editor for coding, a problem solver for improving code quality, debugging, and integration with the CMake build system. Forrester analyst Michael Facemire said in an email that the new IDE is nice-looking and offers good Sublime-like find features, referring to the Sublime Text code editor. Still, he expressed doubts about the potential for CLion.

"Is it that much better than using Visual Studio or Eclipse? That's a developer-by-developer preference," Facemire said. "I'm sure many will try it out to see if it's nice, but the IDE is the core tool in our tool belt, so it'll take something impressive to cause a switch." JetBrains' uphill climb is further complicated by Eclipse plug-ins unique to individual development environments, Facemire said. "We'll see how CLion does with supporting legacy Make files, etc.," he noted.

CLion is due for a 1.0 release in a few months, and JetBrains is seeking feedback in the meantime. JetBrains has made a name for itself in the tools space with its IntelliJ Idea Java IDE, and it supports languages like Ruby, Python, PHP, and Objective-C.

"The C and C++ languages have a history going back to the early days of programming itself," JetBrains' Anastasia Kazakova said in blog post. "They are two of the most successful survivors from the 'primordial soup' of programming languages, while most of the others now lie forgotten." The Tiobe Index on language popularity this month found declining interest in C++, although C has remained the No. 1 language on the index for some time, ahead of Java. C++ founder Bjarne Stroustrup argued in a recent interview that C++ is still the solution for performance-dependent applications.

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