(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).
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.
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.
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
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. ..
is very unhelpful!
I guess there is no better way to discourage beginners.
is another way, but it is not much better:
Most programs, especially C++, are written using multiple files, both
header files (extension "
and implementation files (extension "
for C, "
for C++). The "
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 "
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.
IDEs for Bcc55 are now Available
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
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.
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
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
automatically write a makefile for your C/C++ project according to
options that you select. After that, just call "Make".
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
as an IDE Component:
You may prefer to install Makegen as one of your editor external
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
August 2001 Maintained by: firstname.lastname@example.org