Andrew Binstock has written an excellent blog entry about the pros/cons of porting an existing C/C++ project from Visual Studio to Eclipse. His post was inspired by a tutorial on developerWorks by Priyadarshini Sampath (pictured), Ramakrishnan Kannan and Karthik Subbian, all of IBM.

You should read Andrew’s post, but his conclusion agrees with my own belief that a developer who is solely targeting Windows (native Win32 code, or managed .NET code, or ASP.NET code) and who is using Microsoft’s compilers is probably better off using Visual Studio, because of the tight coupling between the IDE and Windows, and also because Visual Studio is smarter about working with the Microsoft’s compilers.

For Windows developers, the strength of Eclipse is that it’s inherently multiplatform. If multiplatform development is a consideration, or if you’re planning to use any non-Microsoft elements in your toolchain, such as gcc and gdb, Eclipse is the tool for you. The developerWorks article does admit, however,

“The growing popularity, versatility, and open source nature of Eclipse motivates many to embrace Eclipse as the development platform of the future. Nevertheless, porting Windows applications to use open source development tools like GCC, GDB, or GCC/GDB for Windows providing functionalities similar to Windows SDK is a nontrivial task today.”

Therefore: If multiplatform development is not a consideration, and you’re using the Microsoft compilers, then you’re probably better off with Visual Studio.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick