CLion Turns 5!

How it all began

This story starts in AppCode. Back in 2011, Max Shafirov, the current JetBrains CEO, announced the first steps toward C++ support in AppCode, our IDE for iOS/macOS development:
AppCode Cpp support

The work started out simply, just dealing with macros when covering Objective-C++ code. But before long it turned into full-featured C++ support, including STL and libc++ understanding, correct parsing for the template specialization, and getting into C++11 and later standards specifics.

This was later followed by an April Fools’ Day announcement, which made us realize there was great demand for a C++ IDE. After that, we did some extensive research to better understand the market. (Luckily, nowadays we have our yearly The State of Developer Ecosystem research bringing significantly more data to us on a regular basis.)

A couple months after the first release of both CLion and ReSharper C++ in April 2015, we published the whole story in this longread in our company blog.

CLion 1.0 banner

This week, we turned 5! And we celebrated yesterday in the best way we could – with the 2020.1 release ;) When we started CLion, it was a very ambitious idea, and it still is. But we are more confident than ever that we can accomplish the mission!

The team behind the product

Creating a truly helpful tool takes being an integral part of the community, feeling and sharing its needs, pains, and frustrations. We have C++ developers in the team with various backgrounds, as well as some who never did C++ professionally. But we are grateful to the C++ community that helps us fill the gaps. It’s impossible to name here each individual who supports us, as there are so incredibly many of you! But we do want to thank you all!

The CLion team now has 26 members! Including:
18 developers
3 QA engineers
2 support engineers
1 technical writer
1 developer advocate
And me, the product marketing manager.
CLion team

But there are also many other people in JetBrains who contribute to our success. And we are happy to be in such a great company!

Today and Tomorrow

The C++ language is a challenge for any IDE. Over the years, we’ve not only discovered many tricky cases, but we’ve also started talking with the community about the C++ tooling challenges, and hopefully this has helped the C++ Committee notice the issue. We are grateful to the people there who are open to the discussions! We also gladly provide free licenses to the C++ Committee so that we can learn their feedback. They are on the cutting edge of the language, and we are eager to know if we are aligned.

Speaking of free access programs, we see thousands of students using CLion daily to take their first steps in the amazing world of software development. And we are excited to find that CLion is used widely among ICPC teams (our statistics for this come from the 2019 ICPC World Finals, which happens on Linux and where only C++, Java, Kotlin and Python can be used).
ICPC tools

We work on Remote and Embedded development support, and we’ve detected an increase in customers from the automotive industry, especially those creating self-driving experiences. (Our customers and friends from BMW definitely made us smile with their autonomous driving commercial!)

We are certainly thankful to Google for their firm belief in us. With the very first release of CLion, its C++ support was adopted by Android Studio. Our collaboration with the Google team has been, and continues to be, very productive and beneficial to CLion.

We know we have busy and interesting times ahead of us, with lots of critical debts to be addressed, many important fixes to implement, and lots of extra value to add to the product. We also know that you might sometimes feel disappointed with things we’ve missed or haven’t managed to fit into the product. We’d like you to know that these things bother us as well! JetBrains is not about KPIs or management hierarchies. It’s about how we feel about our tools, how we as a team listen to the community needs, and how we cope with your requests. And we know we can do better in many respects. So we’ll try our best to work through critical areas and improve!

Birthday story

Finally, since it’s a birthday celebration, we have a present to share with all of you. A story! Phil Nash is happy to read a book for you. Find a comfortable seat and enjoy these first chapters of CLion’s life:

We always pass all the feedback from various channels to the team’s chat, be it good or bad. So if you want to say something to us, please do so in the comments. Thank you all and stay tuned! ;)

Your CLion team
The Drive to Develop

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