C Compiler for Windows

This brief article discusses different compilers and IDEs available for programming in the C language for the Windows platform.

Nothing is possible in this digital age without the use of programming. Everything, from mobile phones in our hands to automatic cars, requires us to get programmed.

The mouse cursor that you are rolling requires programming as well. Notably, programming knowledge enables programmers to communicate with computers using machine language.

C is the foundation of different programming languages used by programmers nowadays. C++ (an updated version of C) is almost the same as C but provides many extra features especially Objected Oriented Programming.

C is like a subgroup of C++, which makes it equally popular among software developers. The code structure and syntax of basic constructs (including iterative and conditional structures) are the same.

Best Compilers for C Language for Windows

We will discuss some of the best compilers used by developers today for C/C++ development.

1. MinGW

MinGW is an abbreviation for Minimalist GNU for Windows, a GUI-based IDE for Microsoft Windows platform applications. It also includes C, C++, ADA, and FORTRAN compilers.

It does not rely on third-party DLLs but on DLL files embedded by Microsoft.

The key advantages of using MinGW are:

  1. Open-source programming toolset that is quick and easy to use.
  2. It runs on the Microsoft Windows platform. It can be cross-hosted on Linux or run natively on Cygwin in Windows.
  3. Accesses the functionality of the Microsoft C runtime.
  4. Suitable for creating native MS-Windows (x86) applications.

To download and install the MinGW for C++, follow this link.

2. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio provides a code editor which is open-source and is developed by Microsoft, and is available for Windows, UNIX, and Macintosh operating systems.

An electron framework underpins Visual Studio Code. A Stack Overflow survey conducted in 2018 ranked it as the most famous and frequently used Integrated Development Environment, among others.

This IDE allows programmers to customize its themes, shortcuts to keywords, and other settings preferences.

The key advantages of using VS Code are:

  1. Debugging assistance
  2. Highlighting syntax
  3. Intelligent code completion, snippets, and code refactoring are all available.
  4. Git control embedded
  5. Completely easily portable
  6. Simple customization

The VS code IDE and C++ compiler guide can be found here.

3. Code Blocks

Code Blocks is also an open-source IDE and provides the feature of a cross-platform IDE that works with various compilers, including Clang, Visual C++, and GCC. It is written in C++ and uses the wxWidgets GUI toolkit.

The plugins provided define the capabilities and features of a plugin architecture. Code Blocks is currently focused on C, C++, and Fortran.

It has a custom build system and make support, which is optional.

It has the following key features:

  1. Support multiple compilers like MinGW, GCC, Borland C, and others.
  2. Provides utilities like code folding, syntax highlighting, code completion, class browser, etc.
  3. Intelligent debugger with complete breakpoint support.
  4. Provides features of GUI designer.

Follow this link to a comprehensive guide for downloading Code Blocks and configuring a C++ compiler with it.

4. Dev-C

It is a complete Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for the C or C++ programming languages. It uses the GCC compiler for compilation.

It provides support for software development on Windows.

Its key features are:

  1. Support Compilers based on GCC
  2. Debugging is built in.
  3. Highlighting syntax
  4. Finishing the code
  5. Project supervisor
  6. Customizable shortcuts
  7. Manager of tools
  8. CVS assistance

Use this link for a complete guide to downloading and configuring the Dev-C/C++ compiler.

5. Borland C

This is the first and cheapest compiler on the market, with no competitors. Borland is a C Integrated Development Environment (IDE for C) popular in the 1990s with a built-in C compiler.

It works well in MS-DOS Prompt and Windows and provides simple editing features that make code more manageable and simpler. A complete installation guide can be found here.