Integrated Development Environments
for
 Borland C++ 5.5 Free Command Line Tools 

Borland (Inprise) have made their C++ Builder compiler available to the net for free as Bcc55. It comes with command-line tools, but without a graphical integrated development environment (IDE).

This page tells you how you can obtain, or cobble together excellent free IDEs for Bcc55.

Click here to skip the backgound information and see the available IDEs

If you require extra facilities, like RAD tools (Rapid Application Development), database integration, multi-language integration, and other integration tools at the level of your enterprise, purchase one of the versions of Borland C++ Builder. This page is not for you.

If on the other hand you are looking for an excellent free tool to write programs in C or C++ for DOS or Windows, or if you are a teacher trying to select a simple-to-use C/C++ development tool for your classes, you have come to the right place.


Bcc55: An excellent compiler to learn C/C++ with

Bcc55 (short for "Borland C/C++ 5.5") is an excellent C/C++ compiler. It complies well with the C++ ISO 1998 standards, and with the ANSI C 1990 standards. Unfortunately it does not yet implement the ANSI C 1999 standards.

It includes a version of the Roguewave STL library which also conforms reasonably well to the 1998 ISO standards. The compiler is capable of producing Windows native API programs as well as DOS programs. It is an efficient compiler capable of very quick compilation and linking. Its error messages are quite understandable by beginners, and the Borland C/C++ language help that can be obtained from the Borland web site is of excellent quality.

It is available for free at  http://www.inprise.com/bcppbuilder/freecompiler/. You will have to fill in some forms to gain access.

Educational institutions can also obtain permission from Inprise to redistribute the compiler for education purposes. This means that students can have for free at home the same programming environment that they use in class.

All this would make Bcc55 appear like a very good choice for programming education, amateur programmers, learners of C or C++, beginners in programming, or casual developpers of software who cannot justify spending the money to purchase the complete Borland C++ Builder package with all its extras capablilities, most of which they don't need.


Bcc55: The lack of an IDE is crippling

The lack of an IDE however is cripling, expecially for learners of C/C++ or for educational institutions that conduct courses in these languages. Attempting to learn complex languages like C or C++ is difficult enough without having to come to grips with a programming environment that offers absolutely no help.

The information files on the Borland site suggest that you could use Notepad to edit your files, then  type in the compiler and linker commands on the command line. ..
This is very unhelpful!
I guess there is no better way to discourage beginners.

There is another way, but it is not much better:
Most programs, especially C++, are written using multiple files, both header files (extension ".h"), and implementation files (extension ".c" for C, ".cpp" for C++). The "Make" utility program, that comes with the free compiler can be used to automatically control the compilation and linking process for all the files that compose the program.

However Make requires for its operation that a "makefile" should be written. It is a plain text file that controls the operation of "make". Writing a makefile requires a fair amount of knowledge, and a good understanding of the makefile syntax. While it is not very difficult for experienced programmers to write makefiles, asking beginners who barely understand the concepts of compilation and linking to write one is a joke.

Forget it!!


Free IDEs for Bcc55 are now Available

Graphical Integrated Development Environments (IDE) are software tools that make the development of programs easier and quicker. The most basic requirements of an IDE is to offer an editor, compiler, linker and debugger, and a simple way to control the development of programs composed of multiple files. It is also nice when the editor and the compiler work together to place the cursor in the editor on the lines where errors occur during compilation.

To obtain such an environment you could go two ways:
Download a free, ready-made environment from the web, or put together an environment to your liking from components that you can download from this site.

Ready-Made Environments:
VIDE
is the best known. It is a graphical integrated development environment that is primarily developed for another compiler, Gcc. It works under both Windows and Linux. It now also supports Bcc55 under Windows.

Once you have downloaded the free command-line tools from inprise, download VIDE. It is available for free from http://www.objectcentral.com/vide/

Its only limitations are due to its portability to both UNIX and Windows. It uses the lowest common denominator of both. As a result the look and feel of the editor may appear raw at times.

Alternatives to VIDE are listed at http://personal.sirma.bg/Jogy/bcc55.html

Tailor-Made Environment:
If you want to have full control over your programming environment for the commandline tools, it's possible.

Its even easy!..
This site shows how you can quickly assemble a very functional programming environment using your favourite programmer's editor, the Borland commandline tools and two small public domain utilities.

If you like a particular programmer's editor, chances are that you can hook it to a stand-alone C or C++ project tool called "Makegen" available from this site.

The combination of your editor, the free command-line tools, and makegen will result in a simple and flexible IDE -that works the way you like!    Makegen is free, public-domain software, source code included.

Makegen will automatically write a makefile for your C/C++ project according to options that you select. After that, just call "Make".

Makegen on the command-line:
Makegen can be called from the command line, or by clicking on it from Explorer.

You can obtain Makegen by following this link .

You can also obtain its companion program Bclean by following this link

Makegen as an IDE Component:
You may prefer to install Makegen as one of your editor external "tools".

Makegen makes the Bcc55 command line tools capabilities available in such a simple way that commercial IDEs like Borland C++ Builder appear unnecessarily complex by comparison.
An IDE system using Makegen is ideal for beginners and experienced programmers alike when writing small to medium-sized software projects.

We show you an example using Makegen with a particular free editor that we like, called JFE (Jen's File Editor). After that, it will be up to you to hook up Makegen to your editor in a similar way.

Or you may want to use the example as is: This particular system, using JFE, is currently used happily by hundreds of university students. It is absolutely free, and cannot be easier to use.

To download makegen and learn how to use it as an element of a tailor-made IDE, follow this link to the Bcc55JFE IDE page.


Modified: August 2001   Maintained by: cutter@codecutter.net