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CLion vs Xcode: What are the differences?


In this article, we will compare the key differences between CLion and Xcode.

  1. IDE Platform Support: CLion is a cross-platform IDE that supports multiple platforms including Windows, macOS, and Linux, while Xcode is exclusively available for macOS.

  2. Languages Supported: CLion primarily focuses on C and C++ development, providing advanced features and tools specific to these languages. On the other hand, Xcode is designed to handle a wide range of languages, including C, C++, Objective-C, Swift, and more.

  3. Build Systems: CLion supports multiple build systems, including CMake, GCC, Clang, and MSVC. It offers seamless integration with different build tools, making it versatile for different project configurations. In contrast, Xcode relies on its native build system based on Apple's LLVM compiler, which is optimized for macOS and iOS development.

  4. UI and UX: CLion has a customizable and intuitive user interface with various themes and settings to enhance the development experience. It provides a clean and minimalistic design, allowing developers to focus on their code. Xcode, being an Apple product, adheres to the macOS design standards, offering a familiar and consistent user interface.

  5. Debugger: CLion comes with an integrated debugger that provides powerful debugging capabilities, such as breakpoints, stepping into/out of code, variable inspection, and more. Xcode also includes a robust debugger that offers similar features along with advanced functionalities like memory debugging and performance analysis.

  6. Third-Party Plugin Ecosystem: CLion has a thriving ecosystem of third-party plugins and extensions developed by the community, allowing users to extend its functionality according to their specific needs. Xcode, on the other hand, has a more limited plugin ecosystem focused primarily on Apple and iOS development.

In summary, CLion is a versatile cross-platform IDE primarily focused on C and C++ development, supporting various build systems and offering a customizable user interface. Xcode, on the other hand, is a macOS-exclusive IDE that supports a wide range of languages, including C, C++, Objective-C, and Swift, with a strong emphasis on Apple and iOS development.

Decisions about CLion and Xcode
Lucas Litton
Founder & CEO at Macombey · | 7 upvotes · 190.4K views

Expo was a tool Macombey really wanted to utilize from the beginning. I have been working with React Native since 2016 and originally I had to use simulators in Xcode, install pods on top of node packages, configure certificates, and more abundant objectives that take time away from actual development. As a development studio, we have to move quick and get projects to our clients and partners in a matter of months.

Expo made this easy for us. We now have a mobile app for clients to download and test their project on, there is no need to install pods or configure Xcode, and development is super fast and reliable now.

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Pros of CLion
Pros of Xcode
  • 31
    Good editor
  • 30
    Easy setup
  • 24
    Powerful refactoring, extremely smart IDE
  • 24
    Already one of the best C/C++ IDEs, even before launch
  • 21
    Cross-platform build
  • 19
    Clean, Sleek User Interface
  • 18
    Much faster and smarter than Intellisense
  • 13
    Vertically/Horizontally split windows
  • 12
    Great navigation, error messages and auto completion
  • 9
    Vim plugin
  • 9
    Not a 20gb installation
  • 6
    It is best IDE
  • 3
    Like this one because of - not a 20GB installation
  • 2
    Free Flowing C++ IDE
  • 1
    IDE supports Python with all features of PyCharm CE
  • 1
    Very good Git plugin
  • 1
    Cheap, just 99 USD for the first year
  • 130
    IOS Development
  • 33
    Personal assistant on steroids
  • 29
    Easy setup
  • 17
    Excellent integration with Clang
  • 3
  • 1
    Built-in everything

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Cons of CLion
Cons of Xcode
  • 2
    No good support for Makefiles
  • 2
    Not free, unless you are a student
  • 6
    Massively bloated and complicated for smaller projects
  • 3
    Horrible auto completiting and text editing
  • 1
    Slow startup
  • 1
    Very slow emulator

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What is CLion?

Knowing your code through and through, CLion can take care of the routine while you focus on the important things. Boost your productivity with the keyboard-centric approach (Vim-emulation plugin is also available in plugin repository), full coding assistance, smart and relevant code completion, fast project navigation, intelligent intention actions, and reliable refactorings.

What is Xcode?

The Xcode IDE is at the center of the Apple development experience. Tightly integrated with the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, Xcode is an incredibly productive environment for building amazing apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

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What companies use CLion?
What companies use Xcode?
See which teams inside your own company are using CLion or Xcode.
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What tools integrate with CLion?
What tools integrate with Xcode?

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What are some alternatives to CLion and Xcode?
Visual Studio
Visual Studio is a suite of component-based software development tools and other technologies for building powerful, high-performance applications.
Standard Eclipse package suited for Java and plug-in development plus adding new plugins; already includes Git, Marketplace Client, source code and developer documentation. Click here to file a bug against Eclipse Platform.
NetBeans IDE
NetBeans IDE is FREE, open source, and has a worldwide community of users and developers.
It is a popular developer productivity extension for Microsoft Visual Studio. It automates most of what can be automated in your coding routines. It finds compiler errors, runtime errors, redundancies, and code smells right as you type, suggesting intelligent corrections for them.
It is an integrated development environment for Swift, Objective-C, C, C++, and JavaScript development built on JetBrains’ IntelliJ IDEA platform. It takes care of your routine tasks and saves you from extra typing.
See all alternatives