Defining Your C/C++ Project's Development Environment

The following short tutorial takes you through the basic steps of selecting the development host and tool collection for building and debugging a C or C++ project in NetBeans IDE.


Content on this page applies to NetBeans IDE 6.9, 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2


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

Software or Resource Version Required
NetBeans IDE version 6.9, 7.0, 7.1 or 7.2 with NetBeans C/C++ plugin
Java Developer Kit (JDK) version 6 or 7

See the NetBeans IDE 7.2 Installation Instructions for information on downloading and installing the required software.

Installing Tool Collections

The Netbeans C/C++ module minimally requires a C compiler, C++ compiler, make utility, and gdb debugger. See Configuring the NetBeans IDE for C/C++/Fortran for instructions on installing and configuring the required compilers and tools.

Specifying the Development Host

You can build, run, and debug your project on the local host (the system from which you started the IDE) or on a remote host running a UNIX® operating system. Only the Solaris and Linux operating systems have been tested as remote development hosts. Initially, the IDE is set up to use the local host only.

You can define remote development hosts in the Build Tools tab of the C/C++ panel of the Options window, as described in the C/C++ Remote Development Tutorial.

Using the Tool Collection List

The tool collection list is in the Tools > Options > Build Tools tab. The list displays the collections found on the currently selected development host. The default collection is listed in bold type, and is selected for any new project you create. You can change the tool collection for a specific project in the project properties.

The tool collection is associated with the development host, so you must be sure the correct development host is selected before working with the tool collection list. For local or remote hosts, you can modify the Tool Collection list by adding or removing collections.

Changing the Default Tool Collection

To change the default tool collection, select a collection from the Tool Collection list and click Default. The new default tool collection will be selected for any new projects you create using the selected development host.

Adding a Tool Collection to a Development Host

When you add a tool collection, you make the compilers available to the IDE. The tools must be installed on the system already.

To add a tool collection associated with a development host:

  1. Select the Development Host where you want to add a tool collection.
  2. In the Tools > Options > Build Tools tab, click Add under the Tool Collection list.
  3. In the Add New Tool Collection dialog box, type the directory path for the tool collection's executable files in the Base Directory field, or use the Browse button to navigate to the directory.

    Note that in NetBeans IDE 6.7 and 6.8, if the Development Host is not localhost, the Browse feature is not available. You must type the complete path to the base directory of the tools on the remote server. Click Check to have the IDE check that the path you have entered is valid for a supported tool collection. You might be prompted to log in to the server to check the path. In NetBeans IDE 6.9, the Browse feature is available for remote hosts.

  4. The Tool Collection Family and Tool Collection Name are filled in automatically for valid paths. You can specify a different name for the collection. If you change the family to another family on the dropdown list, make sure that the family you specify is the correct family for the collection or the compiler flags might not be valid.
    screenshot of Add New Tool Collection dialog box
  5. Click OK.

Changing the Tool Collection for a Project

When you create a project, the current default tool collection is selected as the tool collection for the project. You can change the tool collection for your project to another collection on the collection list, or you can customize a tool collection especially for the project.

To select a different tool collection for an existing project:

  1. Right-click the project in the Projects window and choose Properties.
  2. In the Project Properties dialog box, select the Build node in the Categories list.
  3. In the build tools properties, make sure the Development Host is set to the host you want to build on.
  4. Select a collection from the Tools Collection dropdown list.
    Screenshot of Build panel of Project Properties dialog
  5. Click OK.

The next time you build the project, the selected tool collection will be used.

See Also

Please see the C/C++ Learning Trail for more articles about developing with C/C++/Fortran in NetBeans IDE.

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