Products Docs & Support Community

The NetBeans C/C++ Development Pack

The NetBeansTM C/C++ Development Pack provides C and C++ development support to the NetBeans community. It is also the core technology behind the Sun Studio IDE and is provided to the NetBeans community by the Sun Studio IDE team.

It is a direct replacement for both the cpp and cpplite modules.

This is the development page. For a more user oriented page see the NetBeans C/C++ Developer Pack on netbeans.

NetBeans C/C++ Development Pack 5.5.1 update 1 has now been released

There are 3 main things we've done for this release:

  • Make the Code Assistance repository persistent
  • Rewrite the gdb module to provide significantly better performance (no 10+ second steps:-) and more reliable Local Variables information.
  • Significantly reduce the bug count. We hope to fix many more than we did in the 5.5.1 release.

This release is based on NetBeans 5.5.1 (although it will still work with NetBeans 5.5). To use it you'll first need to uninstall the NetBeans C/C++ Development Pack 5.5.1. Then, install the update release.

Note: The gdb rewrite was not completed in time for this release. The module shipping with 5.5.1 update 1 will be patched about a month after release (probably late September or early October). The patch will be available via the C/C++ update center.

Future Releases

The C/C++ Pack is becoming a C/C++ plugin in NetBeans 6. Starting with the Beta 1 release of NetBeans 6, the C/C++ features will be available in the standard NetBeans installers. You separate downloads and installs!


The C/C++ Pack includes online help in the IDE. We also provide a documentation page listing documents and tutorials.

Sun Studio vs. NetBeans C/C++ Developer Pack

The Sun Studio IDE and NetBeans C/C++ pack are developed by the same team. The core functionality of the Sun Studio is based on the C/C++ pack, so for many uses they are interchangeable.

The main differences are:

  • The C/C++ pack strives to look and behave as close to "standard" NetBeans behavior as possible. If you know how to use netbeans for Java you shouldn't have problems using it for C/C++.
  • If you're doing JNI development you pretty much need to stick with netbeans.
  • If you're on any platform other than Solaris or Linux you need to use netbeans.
  • Sun Studio has a much more mature debugger based on dbx. While the gdb debugging module in the C/C++ pack is improving (I'm doing a major rewrite now:-), dbx is a much more powerful debugger than gdb and much more reliable on Solaris.
  • Sun Studio has a memory checking, a performance analyzer and a thread analyzer (new in Sun Studio 12) which have no counterparts in the C/C++ pack.

So in summary, if you're doing C and/or C++ development on Solaris or Linux, Sun Studio is probably your best choice. If you're doing mixed Java and C/C++ then netbeans. If you're not developing on Solaris or Linux then netbeans is you're only choice.

NetBeans C/C++ Module History

The Sun Studio IDE team developed cpp in late. Jan Lahoda (from the netbeans core team) developed cpplite at around the same time. The cpp module has been fully supported in Sun Studio, but has mostly ignored NetBeans. In fact, we moved away from cvs for three years because of a minor legal issue). We (the Sun Studio IDE team) also have never supported any Windows platforms.

The code in the cnd modules is based on cpp. It includes the code in the old cvs version of cpp as well as the three years of changes made in the sccs/TeamWare version. It also includes many changes to run on Windows platforms.