Eclipse upgrades C/C++ tools

Although generally known as a provider of open source development tools for Java, the Eclipse Foundation has Microsoft-style technologies, too. To this end, Eclipse has released an upgrade to its C and C++ development tools platform.

The organisation is making available the Eclipse C Development Toolkit (CDT) 3.0. Version 3.0 improves scalability, performance, and extensibility for developers working on embedded systems and Linux environments.

"I think the key message here from the foundation's perspective is that Eclipse has always been about multiple languages," said Ian Skerrett, Eclipse marketing director. "We're well-known as having Java tools, but our C/C++ development tools are widely adopted and used in the embedded and Linux industry."

The free Eclipse platform can provide a base of functionality for vendors who want to add their own specific functions in commercial products. But Eclipse with its free offerings is taking business away from fee-based products, according to analyst John Andrews, chief operating officer at Evans Data.

"I think that point has been reached. I think Eclipse has already started to cannibalize the commercial [products]," Andrews said.

But CDT should not be compared to Microsoft's commercially offered Visual Studio tools platform, said analyst Carl Zetie, a vice president at Forrester Research.

"It would be a mistake to even try," Zetie said. "The latter is a comprehensive, rich, high integrated IDE that -- with the inclusion of Team System -- addresses the whole development lifecycle. CDT has a different goal: to provide the basis of a C/C++ development environment, leaving it to other providers, both conventional and open source, to fill in the rest of the functionality."

Specific improvements in CDT 3.0 include:

  • Faster C/C++ parsing with more accurate searches
  • A DOM-based back end to make functions such as C/C++ outliner more accessible to plug-in developers
  • Indexer selections have been made into pluggable components. Users can select from choices including no indexing, CTags utility-based indexing, and CDT parser indexing
  • Enhanced build system configuration, with improved workflow
  • The ability for developers to fully configure environmental variables when launching external build commands
  • Increased support for tools integrators
Coupled with Intel C++ compilers, the improvements in CDT 3.0 offer greater control and ease of use, according to Intel.

QNX Software led CDT 3.0's development.

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