The Developer Ecosystem in 2018: Key Trends for C and C++

For the second year in a row, we have polled thousands of people to learn what’s hot and what’s not in the world of developers in 2018. The Developer Ecosystem survey aims to reveal which technologies are trending today, how languages are evolving, and which tools developers are adopting the most. The results are finally in, so go ahead and get the full scoop!

Later we will also publish (anonymized) raw data for everyone interested in taking a look for themselves. Now, let me share the most interesting findings from this year’s study relating to C and C++.

For C, the most interesting questions are about the tooling being adopted, while for C++ we were squirming to know “Which C++ standard do developers mostly use?”. Since this is a second such study, we can also compare the results to those from 2017 and identify some fascinating trends.

View The State of Developer Ecosystem 2018 Report

Top C facts

It seems that among all the respondents developing in C, 48% have abandoned all unit testing frameworks. This is a hike of 18% compared with last year. In contrast, among C++ developers the abandon rate soared by 20% this year. If we speculate about why this is happening, could it be that unit testing frameworks don’t fit the C/C++ developer ecosystem? Is the entry level too high? Or maybe there’s a lack of documentation and learning resources? What’s your take on this?

Makefiles were probably expected to come in as the most popular project model, but second place now goes to CMake (among C developers). Interestingly, Xcode project model has moved up from 5% to 9%.

In terms of IDEs, both CLion and Visual Studio Code have gained a lot of popularity among C developers. Still, the top honor this year goes to Vi/Vim! By the way, if you’re accustomed to Vim, you can install a Vim-emulation mode in CLion to benefit from familiar Vim key bindings and the functionality of CLion at the same time.

Top C++ facts

The C++17 standard was officially signed last year and is now seeing growing adoption numbers: 18%, compared with 12% last year. However, while nearly half of all respondents who are not on C++17 yet plan to upgrade to one or another new standard, only 8% of those who are not on C++17 yet are considering moving to C++17 in the next 12 months.

CMake, Visual Studio project, and Makefiles are still the hottest build systems. However, the order has changed. CMake has finally prevailed over Visual Studio project! It’s also great to still see SCons and Bazel in the top 10.

Talking about other languages, it’s worth mentioning Java and Python as the languages most frequently used together with C++, as well as Rust, which 8% of C++ developers plan to adopt / migrate to in the next 12 months. If you’re looking for a Rust IDE, try the Rust plugin for CLion, which comes with Cargo build system and debugger support!

View The State of Developer Ecosystem 2018 Report

What do you think about these trends? Sound off in the comments section below!

Your CLion Team
The Drive to Develop

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9 Responses to The Developer Ecosystem in 2018: Key Trends for C and C++

  1. Tano says:

    “By the way, if you’re accustomed to Vim, you can install a Vim-emulation mode in CLion to benefit from familiar Vim key bindings and the functionality of CLion at the same time.”

    The reason people use vim is the speed, the archenemy of CLion.:)

    • Anastasia Kazakova says:

      It depends I guess. Mostly yes, vim is used for quick editing actions. But sometimes people need full IDE functionality while still would like to stay with Vim key bindings.

      • Tano says:

        Believe me, there are a lot of programmers that use vim as an IDE, with a lot of plugins, not just as a quick editor.Some of my colleagues use vim better than I use CLion, they know zillions of shortcuts :)).Atoogle also a lot of people use vim for development, because they have big repos and IDEs are too slow when dealing with too many files.

      • Tano says:

        See the isocpp survey, vim is the second IDE used in c/c++, after vstudio

        • Anastasia Kazakova says:

          Thanks. We saw that survey of course.

          I personally was using Vim for many years in my C++ development. And I believe it’s a good choice for many cases (and indeed Vim is more than just an editor, especially with all the plugins). But I would not call Vim an IDE.

          However, I’m happy to see Vim in top of most used C/C++ IDE. As it sets a great performance goal for the others 😉

        • Woody says:

          Also, keep in mind that VStudio offer a Vim plugin. While my answer would also likely be VStudio, it’s only because I can also use Vim keybindings. If the plugin were not available, I would likely have stayed back on a version that supports it, or moved to CMake (as I have for projects not based in MS world, where I use Vim/YouCompleteMe).

  2. Tano says:

    At Google*

  3. Sergei Vlasov says:

    VS developers sat quietly in a corner, chuckled and .. just worked.

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