Configuring the NetBeans IDE for C/C++/Fortran

This document provides information about downloading, installing, and configuring C/C++ support in the NetBeans IDE. Before you can develop in C/C++, the NetBeans IDE requires the C/C++ plugin module, and third party C/C++ compilers, make utilities, and debuggers.

Contents

Content on this page applies to NetBeans IDE 7.3

To follow this tutorial, you need the following software and resources.

Software or Resource Version Required
NetBeans IDE 7.3 with NetBeans C/C++ plugin
Java Developer Kit (JDK) 6 and higher

Enabling C/C++/Fortran in the IDE

The NetBeans IDE is a dynamic modular IDE, which means you can change it by adding and removing modules of the program. You can add functionality by installing plugin modules, or remove functionality by uninstalling plugin modules. See the NetBeans IDE online help for more information about plugins.

If you want to work with C, C++, or Fortran programs in the NetBeans IDE, your NetBeans installation must include the C/C++ plugin.

Although the plugin is named C/C++, it also includes support for Fortran programming.

If you have not yet installed NetBeans IDE 7.3

If you have not yet installed the NetBeans IDE, download either the C/C++ bundle or the All bundle from NetBeans IDE 7.3 Download Page. If you will not be using other languages such as Java and Ruby, you should download the C/C++ bundle.

If you have NetBeans IDE 7.3 but do not know if you have the C/C++ plugin

If you already have NetBeans IDE, determine if your NetBeans IDE includes the C/C++ plugin already by selecting File > New Project. If C/C++ is listed as one of the Categories, you have the C/C++ plugin module. You should skip to the section Installing and Setting Up the Compilers and Tools.

If you have NetBeans IDE 7.3 without the C/C++ plugin

If your NetBeans IDE does not show a C/C++ project category when you select File > New Project, complete the following steps to add the C/C++ plugin module to the IDE.

  1. If your network uses a proxy, choose Tools > Options > General in the IDE, select Manual Proxy Settings, enter the HTTP Proxy and Port for your proxy, and click OK.
  2. Choose Tools > Plugins.
  3. In the Plugins dialog box, click the Available Plugins tab, and scroll to the C/C++ category.
  4. Select the C/C++ checkbox and click Install to start the NetBeans IDE Installer.
  5. In the NetBeans IDE Installer, click Next.
  6. Read the license agreement, select the checkbox to accept the terms of the license agreement, and click Next.
  7. Click Install.
  8. After the installation completes, select either Restart IDE Now or Restart IDE Later and click Finish.

Installing and Setting Up the Compilers and Tools

The Netbeans C/C++ module requires a C compiler, C++ compiler, make utility, and gdb debugger. See the following instructions for the platform of your development system.

Microsoft Windows
Oracle Solaris
Linux
Macintosh OS X

Microsoft Windows

The NetBeans C/C++ module has been tested with compilers from Cygwin and MinGW. If you install both Cygwin and MinGW, be careful to keep their installation locations completely separate and do not mix tools from Cygwin and MinGW in one tool collection in the IDE.

Note. If you want to use Qt with Windows, you must use MinGW. See the article Working with Qt Applications for instructions for installing MinGW and Qt software.

Cygwin Compilers and Tools
MinGW Compilers and Tools

Cygwin Compilers and Tools

The NetBeans C/C++ module has been tested with the following compilers and tools from Cygwin.com.

Software or Resource Version Tested Description
cygwin1.dll 1.7.7, 1.7.9 Cygwin Linux-like environment for Windows
gcc 4.3.4 Cygwin C compiler
g++ 4.3.4 Cygwin C++ compiler
gdb 6.8 Cygwin GNU debugger
make 3.81 Cygwin make utility

If you already have the Cygwin gcc and g++ compilers, GNU make, and gdb debugger installed on your Windows system and your path is set up correctly to find them, make sure that you have the correct versions.

To check the versions of your Cygwin compilers and tools:

  1. Check the version of Cygwin environment by typing the following commands at a Windows command prompt:

    C:\> cygcheck -c cygwin
  2. Check the versions of the Cygwin gcc and g++ compilers, make, and gdb by typing the following commands at a Windows command prompt:
    C:\> gcc --version
    C:\> g++ --version
    C:\> make --version
    C:\> gdb --version
    

If you have the correct versions, then no further setup is necessary. See Verifying the Installation to verify that the tools are installed correctly for the NetBeans IDE.

To install the GNU gcc and g++ compilers, make, and gdb debugger from cygwin.com:

  1. Refer to the Cygwin User's Guide for complete information about installing and using Cygwin.
  2. Download the Cygwin setup.exe program by clicking Install Cygwin in the left navigation bar, or by clicking this direct setup.exe link.
  3. Run the setup.exe program. Accept the defaults until you reach the Select Your Internet Connection page. Select the option on this page that is best for you. Click Next.
  4. On the Choose Download Site page, choose a download site you think might be relatively close to you. Click Next.
  5. On the Select Packages page you select the packages to download. Click the + next to Devel to expand the development tools category. You may want to resize the window so you can see more of it at one time.
  6. Select each package you want to download by clicking the Skip label next to it, which reveals the version number of the package to download. At a minimum, select
    • gcc-core: C compiler
    • gcc-g++: C++ compiler
    • gdb: The GNU Debugger
    • make: the GNU version of the 'make' utility
    Packages that are required by the packages you select are automatically selected as well.
  7. Click Next to connect to the download site and download the packages you selected, and click Finish when the installation is complete.
  8. Now add the Cygwin compiler directory to your path to enable NetBeans IDE to find the tools collection:

    1. Open the Control Panel:
      - On Windows XP select Start > Settings > Control Panel and double-click System.
      - On Windows 7, type var in the Start menu's search box to quickly find a link to Edit the system environment variables.
    2. Select the Advanced tab and click Environment Variables.
    3. In the System Variables panel of the Environment Variables dialog, select the Path variable and click Edit.
    4. Add the path to the cygwin-directory\bin directory to the Path variable, and click OK. By default, cygwin-directory is C:\cygwin. Directory names must be separated with a semicolon. Your edited path should look something like %SystemRoot%\system32;%SystemRoot%;C:\Program Files\QuickTime\QTSystem;C:\cygwin\bin
    5. Click OK in the Environment Variables dialog and the System Properties dialog.
    6. See Verifying the Installation to verify that the tools were installed correctly for the NetBeans IDE.

MinGW Compilers and Tools

NetBeans IDE 7.3 was tested with Minimalist GNU for Windows (MinGW) and the Minimal System (MSYS) Unix-like environment. Versions tested and installation instructions are shown below.

Note. If you want to use Qt with Windows, see the article Working with Qt Applications for instructions for installing MinGW and Qt software.

Software or Resource Version Tested Description
gcc 4.6.2 C compiler
g++ 4.6.2 MinGW C++ compiler
gdb 7.4 MinGW GNU debugger
make 3.81 MSYS make utility
Note that MinGW make is not supported

To install the GNU compilers, make, and gdb debugger from mingw.org:

  1. Log in to Windows using an account with computer administrator privileges.
  2. Download the MinGW installer from http://sourceforge.net/projects/mingw.
  3. Run the MinGW installer, which should have a file name similar to mingw-get-inst-20120426.exe.
  4. Accept the default C:\MinGW as the destination folder if possible to minimize any potential difficulty with using the compilers from another location.
  5. In the MinGW installer select the following components to install:
    • C
    • C++
    • Fortran (if you will be working on Fortran programs)
    • MSYS Basic System
    • MinGW Developer Toolkit
  6. Click Install and wait a few minutes while the installer program downloads the components you selected.
  7. Click Finish when the packages are finished downloading.

You must add the paths to the the binaries for MinGW and MSYS tools to your PATH. If you installed to the default location the paths are C:\MinGW\bin and C:\MinGW\MSYS\1.0\bin.

To edit your PATH environment variable in Windows:

  1. Open the Environment Variables window:
    • On Windows XP and Windows 2000: Right-click My Computer > Properties > Advanced tab > Environment Variables button.
    • On Windows Vista and Windows 7: Right-click My Computer > Properties > Advanced System Settings link > Environment Variables button.
  2. In the Environment Variables window, select the Path variable in the Systems Variable section and click Edit.
  3. At the end of the path, insert a semi-colon and add the paths to the executables for MinGW and MSYS. Use semi-colons between the paths and do not use any spaces. Be careful not to remove anything already on your PATH or your computer might not work correctly.

    When you are finished, your path should look similar to the following:

    %SystemRoot%\system32;%SystemRoot%;%SystemRoot%\System32\Wbem;
    %SYSTEMROOT%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0;C:\MinGW\bin;C:\MinGW\MSYS\1.0\bin
  4. Click OK in the Environment Variables window.

See Verifying the Installation to verify that the tools were installed correctly for the NetBeans IDE.

Oracle Solaris

On Oracle Solaris platforms, you can use GNU tools or Oracle Solaris Studio tools. The GNU tools are included in Oracle Solaris 10 and Oracle Solaris 11 in the /usr/sfw/bin directory by default. The Oracle Solaris Studio software is a suite of developer tools that are free to download. The Oracle Solaris Studio compilers are optimized for Oracle Sun hardware, and make it easier to produce performance tuned Oracle Solaris binaries.

NetBeans IDE 7.3 has been tested with the following compilers and tools.

Software or Resource Version Tested Description
cc 5.10, 5.11, 5.12 Sun Studio 12 Update 1, Oracle Solaris Studio 12.2, and Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 C compilers
CC 5.10, 5.11, 5.12 Sun Studio 12 Update 1, Oracle Solaris Studio 12.2, and Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 C++ compilers
gcc 3.4.3, 3.4.6 GNU C compilers
g++ 3.4.3, 3.4.6 GNU C++ compilers
gdb 6.8 GNU debugger
gmake 3.81 GNU make
make 3.81 Solaris make
dmake 7.9, 8.0, 8.1 Sun Studio 12 Update 1, Oracle Solaris Studio 12.2, and Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 distributed make utility

Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 Compilers

If you want to use the Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 compilers on Oracle Solaris 10 or Oracle Solaris 11:

To download and install the Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 compilers on Oracle Solaris 10:

  1. Create a directory for the downloaded file. You must have write permission for this directory.
  2. Download the package installer file for your platform into the download directory.
  3. Go to the download directory, and uncompress and untar the downloaded file.
    bzcat filename | /bin/tar xvf -
    
  4. Follow the instructions in Chapter 2 of the Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 Installation Guide to install the C compiler, C++ compiler, and required Solaris patches.
  5. Edit your PATH to add the path to the Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 software before starting the NetBeans IDE.
  6. See Verifying the Installation to verify that the tools were installed correctly for the NetBeans IDE.

To install the Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 compilers on Oracle Solaris 11:

GNU Compilers and GNU make

If you want to use the GNU compilers and GNU make:

  • If you have a standard installation of Oracle Solaris 10 or Oracle Solaris 11, the compilers and gmake are installed in /usr/sfw/bin. Make sure that this location is in your PATH before starting NetBeans IDE.
  • If the compilers and gmake are not installed on your system, you can download them from http://www.sunfreeware.com.

To download and install the GNU compilers and make utility

  1. Download gcc and make.
  2. If the download zip files are not automatically extracted during download, unzip them with gunzip.
  3. Install the packages with the pkgadd command.
  4. Make sure to include the GNU compiler directory and the GNU make directory in your path before starting the NetBeans IDE.
  5. See Verifying the Installation to verify that the tools were installed correctly for the NetBeans IDE.

gdb Debugger

Whether you use the Oracle Solaris Studio compilers and Solaris make or the GNU compilers and GNU make, you must have the gdb debugger to debug applications in NetBeans IDE. You can download gdb from http://www.sunfreeware.com.

To download and install gdb for Oracle Solaris 10:

  1. Download gdb 6.8.
  2. If the download zip file is not automatically extracted during download, unzip it with gunzip.
  3. Install the package with the pkgadd command.
  4. Make sure to include the path to gdb in your PATH before starting the NetBeans IDE.
  5. See Verifying the Installation to verify that the tools were installed correctly for the NetBeans IDE.

On Oracle Solaris 11, you can install gdb 6.8 from the pkg.oracle.com repository.

Linux

On Linux platforms, you can use GNU tools or Oracle Solaris Studio tools.

NetBeans IDE has been tested with the following compilers and tools:

Software or Resource Version Tested Description
cc 5.10, 5.11, 5.12 Sun Studio 12 Update 1, Oracle Solaris Studio 12.2, and Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 compilers
CC 5.10, 5.11, 5.12 Sun Studio 12 Update 1, Oracle Solaris Studio 12.2, and Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 compilers
gcc 4.6.3 and 4.7.2 GNU C compiler
g++ 4.6.3 and 4.7.2 GNU C++ compiler
gdb 7.4 and 7.5 GNU debugger
gmake 3.81 GNU make
dmake 7.9, 8.0, 8.1 Sun Studio 12 Update 1, Oracle Solaris Studio 12.2, and Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 distributed make utility


Oracle Solaris Studio 12.2 Compilers on Linux

If you want to use the Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 compilers in a Linux OS:

To download and install the Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 compilers:

  1. Create a directory for the downloaded file. You must have write permission for this directory.
  2. If your browser is set to download to a particular location such as your Desktop or a Downloads directory without prompting, set the browser preferences to download to the directory you created. For Firefox, the download directory is set in Edit > Preferences > Main.
  3. Download the file for your platform into the download directory you created. If you are using Ubuntu, download the tarfile installation into the directory where you want to install it because the packages are for Oracle Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and SuSE Linux Enterprise System. Note also that Ubuntu is not an officially supported platform for Oracle Solaris Studio IDE, but the compilers have been tested for use in NetBeans IDE and been found to work.
  4. Go to the download directory, and uncompress and untar the downloaded file.
    bzcat filename | tar xvf -
    
  5. If you downloaded the RPM packages, follow the instructions in Chapter 2 of the Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 Installation Guide to install the C compiler, C++ compiler, and Fortran compiler.
  6. Edit your PATH to add the path to the Oracle Solaris Studio software before starting the NetBeans IDE.
  7. See Verifying the Installation to verify that the tools were installed correctly for the NetBeans IDE.

To download and install the GNU debugger in Oracle Linux or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, type:

yum install gdb

To download and install the GNU debugger in Ubuntu, type:

sudo apt-get install gdb

OS X

NetBeans IDE has been tested with the following compilers and tools:

Software or Resource Version Tested Description
gcc 4.2.1 GNU C compiler in Mac OS X 10.6
g++ 4.2.1 GNU C++ compiler in Mac OS X 10.6
gdb 6.3.5 GNU debugger in Mac OS X 10.6
make 3.81 GNU make in Mac OS X 10.6

Install the following packages that are provided with your OS X:

  • Xcode
  • X11

These packages can also be downloaded from Apple Developer Connection with the free ADC membership.


Verifying the Installation

To verify that the installation is correct, start the NetBeans IDE, build a sample project, and run it in the gdb debugger.

Start the NetBeans IDE

To start the IDE, do one of the following:

  • Double-click the NetBeans IDE icon on the desktop.
  • On Linux or Solaris platforms, navigate to the bin subdirectory of your NetBeans installation and type ./netbeans.
  • Launch the NetBeans IDE through the desktop menu.
    This method is available on Windows platforms, but might not be available on the Oracle Solaris 10 and Oracle Solaris 11 platforms and some Linux platforms.

Build a Sample Project to Test the Tools

On all platforms, you can build a sample project to test the compiler installation, and run it in the debugger to test the gdb installation.

To build a sample project and run it in the debugger:

  1. Open the New Project wizard by choosing File > New Project.
  2. In the Categories panel on the Choose Project page of the wizard, expand the Samples category and select the C/C++ subcategory.
  3. In the Projects panel, select the Welcome project. Click Next.
  4. On the Project Name and Location page, click Finish.
  5. In the Projects window, right-click the Welcome_1 project and choose Build. If your compilers and make utility are installed correctly and the path to them is set, build output is displayed in the Output window and the project builds successfully.
  6. Expand the Source Files node of the project and double-click the welcome.cc file to open it in the Source Editor.
  7. Set a breakpoint by clicking in the left margin of the Source Editor window next to any line.
  8. Right-click the project and choose Debug. If the gdb debugger is installed correctly and the path to it is set, gdb starts up, the Debugger tabs are displayed, and the Welcome application runs and stops at the breakpoint.
  9. Choose Debug > Continue to run the application to completion.
  10. If the project doesn't build or debugger doesn't work, see the next section.

Troubleshooting Tool Issues

  1. Select Tools > Options and click C/C++ in the top panel of the Options dialog box.
  2. In the Build Tools tab, look at the Tool Collection list to see if your tool collection is listed.
  3. Select the tool collection if it is listed, and check the paths to the tools. If the Base Directory path is incorrect, you may have made a mistake when setting your path environment variable. Refer back to the instructions for setting the path in the section for your platform in this document, and correct the path if necessary.
  4. If the tool collection is not listed, click Restore Defaults. This will cause the IDE to rescan your environment to look for tools and the tool collection should be found if the path environment variable is correct.
  5. If you are still having an issue, try adding a new tool collection and specifying the path to the tools, as follows:
    1. Click Add below the Tool Collection list.
    2. Browse to the directory that contains the executables for the compilers, debugger, and make utility. This is usually the bin directory.
    3. Select the directory and click Open. The IDE should be able to determine the family of the tools and update the other fields in the dialog box appropriately. If not, an error is displayed.
    4. If the tools are identified correctly, click OK in the Add Tool Collection dialog box. The new collection should be displayed in the list.
    5. Select the new tool collection and click Default to make sure this tool collection is used automatically for new projects.

    If you cannot solve the problem, ask for help at the NetBeans C/C++ User Forum.


Next Steps

To learn quickly how to develop a C or C++ application with the NetBeans IDE, see the C/C++ Projects Quick Start Tutorial.

See Also

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