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Prasanthpadp
Prasanthpadp

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Top 4 C++ Compilers To Try

This article is concerned with various C++ compilers. C++ is known as compiled language due to a lot of work done by the compiler. Before going ahead first understand what is a compiler or what is C++ compiler. A compiler is a program that translates a source program written in some high-level programming language (such as C++) into machine code for some computer architecture (such as the intel Gracemont architecture). The generated machine code can be later executed many times against different data each time. Compilers (like any other program) are written in some high-level programming language (which may be different from the language they accept). For example, a C++ compiler can be completely written in C or even C++. Now we will see the working of the C++ compiler.

Firstly, Each C++ file is compiled into an object file. The initial step done by the compiler is to run the preprocessor followed by the compilation phase and next, the compiler works through the preprocessed code line by line translating each line into the appropriate machine language instruction. This will also uncover any syntax errors that are present in your source code and will throw an error to the command line. Finally, if no errors are present compiler creates the object file with the machine language binary necessary to run on your machine.

You could also try the online compiler from InterviewBit

C++ Compilers

Let’s look at the top 5 best compilers in 2022→

  • Microsoft Visual C++ compiler
  • Zapcc
  • Clang
  • MinGW/GCC
  • Codepad

We have briefly described all the ones in the following list. Below is a list of different compilers.

Microsoft Visual C++ Compiler

Microsoft Visual C++ compiler is a good compiler for developing Windows applications. it was originally a standalone product but later became a part of Visual Studio and made available in both trialware and freeware forms. It is currently used by the visual studio IDE (Integrated Development Environment). It is a free Windows C++ compiler by Microsoft. It is a truly high-end compiler. A high-end compiler is a compiler that transforms and translates a high-end language to a machine-understandable language. it comes with a pretty powerful IDE including the basics such as syntax highlighting and code formatting, nice features like keyword completion and the ability to get the type for any variable, and a great debugger. It is expensive, but if you want to program for Windows, it's a good choice.

MFC 2.0 was the first version of the Visual C++ compiler released in February 1993.

The latest version of Visual C++ is 14.31.30919.0 which is released on December 23, 2021.

It comprises Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) library makes it easy to create multi-platform applications. MFC is an application framework that wraps C/C++ applications to work on any operating system. In Notepad, enter the following lines of code:

using namespace std;
int main(){
int divisor, dividend, quotient, remainder;
cout<<"Enter dividend: ";
cin>>dividend;
cout<<"Enter divisor: ";
cin>>divisor;
quotient=dividend/divisor;
remainder=dividen%divisor;
cout<<"Quotient= "<<quotient <<endl;
cout<<"Remainder= "<<remainder;
return 0;}
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Save your work! In Notepad, on the File menu, choose Save. You've created a C++ source file, math. cpp, that is ready to compile.

Switch back to the developer command prompt window. Enter dir at the command prompt to list the contents of the c:\math directory.

At the developer command prompt, enter c:/math.cpp to compile your program.

The cl.exe compiler generates a .obj file that contains the compiled code and then runs the linker to create an executable program named math.exe. This name appears in the lines of output information that the compiler displays.

To run the math.exe program, at the command prompt, enter math.
In this way, you've compiled and run a C++ program from a visual C++ compiler by using the command-line tools.

ZAPCC

Zapcc is a high-speed C++ compiler. Zapcc is a caching C++ compiler based on clang, designed to perform faster compilations. Clang is a C++ compiler for low-level virtual machines. zapcc uses an in-memory compilation cache in a client-server architecture, remembering all compilation information between runs. zapcc is the client while zapccs is the server. Each zapcc run will reuse an existing server or if none was available will start a new one. Zapcc supports only Linux x64. Experimental support is offered for Windows x64 with MinGW-w64, which provides GCC for Windows. Zapccs parses C++ header files just once and keeps in memory both all template instantiation and generated code. Zapcc can be up to 50x faster than Clang. The amount of memory used by Zapccs is an important factor to determine overall performance. Zapcc allows developers to set a memory limit to make Zapccs automatically restart with an empty cache when that limit is reached.

Clang

The Clang tool is a front-end compiler that is used to compile programming languages like C and C++. Clang has support for some of the features of the ISO C++ 2020 standard. Clang also gives several end-user features like fast compiles and low memory use. It also provides GCC compatibility. It has modular library-based architecture. Clang allows tight integration with IDEs. Clang 12, the latest major version of Clang as of April 2021, has full support for all published C++ standards up to C++17, implements most features of C++20, and adds initial support for the upcoming C++23 standard.

To compile a C++ program on the command line, run the clang++ compiler as follows:

$ scl enable llvm-toolset-6.0 'clang++ -o output_file source file...
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This creates a binary file named output_file in the current working directory. If the -o option is omitted, the clang++ compiler creates a file named a.out by default.

Consider a source file named hello.cpp with the following contents:

# include <iostream>
using namespace std;
int main (int argc, char *argv[]) {
cout<<"Hello World!"<<endl;
return 0;
}
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Compile this source code on the command line by using the clang++ compiler from Clang and LLVM Toolset:

$ scl enable llvm-toolset-6.0 'clang ++ -o hello hello.cpp'
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This creates a new binary file called hello in the current working directory.

For running this compiled program command is- $./hello

Output- Hello World!

MinGW/GCC

MinGW means Minimalist GNU for Windows. It was developed by Colin Peters. MinGW is a compiler system based on the GNU GCC. It compiles and links code to be run on the Windows system. It’s an open-source tool with no third-party requirements and works well with the development of Microsoft windows. It has GCC compilers to include C, C++ language compilers. It provides a high level of portability available in GCC. A key benefit of it is fast and simple and requires DLL libraries. A DLL is a library that contains functions that can be called by applications at run-time.
Consider a source file named sum.cpp with the following contents:

# include <iostream>
using namespace std;
int main (int argc, char *argv[]) {
int a, b;
cout<<a+b<<endl;
return 0;
}
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For running this program command is -

C:\MinGW\bin\g++ -o sum.exe sum.cpp

Where c:\MinGW\bin is a path where the file is saved with the .cpp extension.

Conclusion

C++ Compilers are important from the viewpoint of programming. Using these compilers, we can develop and build many advanced C++ applications. Most of the compilers come with an inbuilt debugger and/or other features like memory leak detection etc. that save our time and efforts. A good compiler is chosen based on two aspects they are compilation speed and the time taken for compilation for huge projects. The compiler should be efficient in performance and work harder to give out of code. The C++ compilers mentioned in this article are not just considered the best but are also very popular among the developers’ community.

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