For Developers

C++ Tools Every Programmer Should Know in 2023

C++ Tools Every Programmer Should Know

C++ developers work on various applications, including browsers, mobile applications, database systems, enterprise software, and high-performance computing. In recent years, however, one of the more popular applications has been in game development and operating systems. In this blog, we’ll discuss the different C++ tools that can boost productivity.

What is C++ and why is it popular?

C++ is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language developed in 1979 as an extension of C. It is one of the most popular languages used. Features of C++, such as its power, efficiency, and portability, make it sought-after among developers. Its OOP approach also makes it a viable choice for various object interactions to create more interactive and feature-rich applications.

C++ is a compiled language, which means it is first converted into machine language in order to run on a computer. Its programs are written in a way that is easy for humans to read and understand.

Best C++ tools for 2023

Different C++ build tools let programmers develop high-performance applications. They come in handy when they need to create apps that require a lot of processing power or when they need to build an application that many users will use simultaneously.

C++ tools can be classified on the following basis:

C++ debuggers

C++ debugging tools and commands (like dbg) are used to find and fix errors and help improve the quality of software applications. Some popular examples of tools include:

  • GDB
  • CDB
  • WinDbg

C++ performance profilers

Performance profilers are incorporated to improve the speed and efficiency of software applications. They assist in reducing the use of resources.

Some widely used C++ performance profilers are:

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  • AMD CodeXL
  • Intel VTune Profiler
  • ARM Streamline
  • GNU Profiler (Gprof)

C++ documentation generators

As the name suggests, C++ documentation generators help create documentation for software libraries. They enhance the viability of libraries and reduce the resources required to generate proof of work.

Popularly used documentation generators are:

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  • Doxygen: A documentation generator for C++.
  • DocBook: A documentation generator for a variety of programming languages.

C++ code coverage tools

These C++ tools are used to test how much code is executed during the testing period of software applications. Some code coverage tools are:

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  • BullseyeCoverage
  • Frogogic Coco

Additional C++ tools

There are many other C++ tools that you can choose according to your needs and personal preference.

Visual Assist

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Microsoft Visual Studio is a popular IDE that supports multiple languages, including C++. It has a powerful code editor and comes with a wide range of features and tools. The C++ Visual Studio extension provides extensive features for C++ developers to increase productivity.

Visual Assist is a C++ build tool that allows you to see the hierarchy in your program wherein you can see the relationships between the functions in your code. This is useful for understanding the flow of control in your code.

Other Visual Assist features include:

  • Class browser: The class browser shows a hierarchical view of all the classes in your code. It also shows the relationships between the classes.
  • Symbol browser: The symbol browser lists all the symbols in your code. You can use it to find a particular symbol quickly.
  • Class outline: The class outline showcases the structure of a class. It also shows the relationships between the members of a class.
  • Code completion: Code completion is a feature that suggests possible names of symbols as you type. This is very useful when you are not sure about the name of a particular symbol.
  • Refactoring: Refactoring modifies your code to improve its design. Visual Assist provides several refactoring features such as Rename, Extract Method, and Move Function.
  • Code generation: Code generation automatically generates code based on templates. Visual Assist provides several code generation features such as Generate Getters and Setters and Generate Constructor.

Windows Sysinternals

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Windows Sysinternals is a collection of tools that allow you to troubleshoot and diagnose problems with the Windows operating system.

Some of the tools include:

  • Process Explorer: Process Explorer assists in viewing the details of all the processes running on your system. It also allows you to terminate a process.
  • Process Monitor: Process Monitor lets you monitor the activities of all the operations conducted in the system. It can be used to troubleshoot problems with the system.
  • Autoruns: Autoruns is a tool that allows you to view all the programs that are configured to run automatically when your system starts. It can also be used for troubleshooting errors.
  • Disk2VHD: With Disk2VHD, you can create a virtual hard disk (VHD) of your physical hard disk. This can be used to create a backup of your system or to run a virtual machine.


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This popular IDE supports multiple compilers, including GCC and Visual C++. It has a very customizable interface and a range of plugins.

The features of Dev-C++ are:

  • Syntax highlighting: It highlights the keywords in your code to make it simple to read and understand.
  • Code completion: This is a feature that suggests possible names of symbols as you type. It is useful when you are not sure about the name of a particular symbol.
  • Code folding: It hides the code you are not interested in and is handy when working with large code files.

C++ Intellisense

This is a Visual C++ build tool. The plugin provides IntelliSense-like features for C++. IntelliSense is a feature that offers code completion and code navigation for C++. It is useful for writing and understanding C++ code.

  • Code completion: As discussed, code completion is a feature that helps in suggesting the possible names of symbols as you type.
  • Code navigation: Code navigation is a feature that allows you to navigate to a particular symbol in your code quickly. This is useful when working with large code files and jumping to a specific function.

Microsoft Visual C++ Build Tools

Microsoft C++ Build Tools is a portable toolkit that allows developers to build C++ projects on Windows without Visual Studio. It includes the Visual C++ compiler, linker, and other tools required for command-line C++ project development.

The toolkit can create projects that use C++/CLI (Common Language Infrastructure), a language that allows you to mix managed and native code. You can rapidly construct applications that use Windows Runtime (WinRT).

Other tools available through Microsoft Visual C++ Build Tools which can be useful when working with C++ projects are the Resource Compiler (RC) and the Manifest Tool (MT).


C++ tools not only increase efficiency but also provide a clear picture of the significant concepts of OOP and help apply them to real-life scenarios. For instance, suppose you are stuck with syntax errors in C++, C++ tools - which include a wide range of features such as class viewer, class inheritance diagrams, class templates, code completion, and more - can come in handy. They also provide an IDE that helps with managing, debugging, and testing code.


  • Author

    Mohak Sethi

    Mohak is a content writer and strategist. He has developed content in tech, OTT, and travel niches for companies like Wipro and Amazon Prime. He likes time traveling movies.

Frequently Asked Questions

C++ is still a widely used programming language, so learning it is beneficial in 2023. However, newer languages like Python and Java may be more in-demand in the future.

The best free IDE for C++ is Visual Studio. It provides a full-featured development environment for C++ with an integrated debugger and many tools to help you manage your project.

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the programmer’s experience and expertise. However, some that are considered to be more difficult to learn are Assembly and Lisp.

IDE stands for integrated development environment. It is a software application that provides tools that programmers can use to develop software applications in various languages, including C++.

Elon Musk started coding at a very early stage in his life. He handled the backend with C and worked with Python as well. But as of 2022, Musk is not a developer, so he likely does not know C++, specifically. However, he is a technology entrepreneur and has experience in development and a considerable understanding of programming.

Visual Studio is considered one of the fastest IDEs for C++ development. Some other popular choices are Eclipse and Code::Blocks.

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