What is the most popular C++ compiler for Windows?

January 19, 2020 at 08:36:24
Specs: Windows
I've started a new open source project, and I want to support the most popular C++ compiler for Windows. Not necessarily the "best", but the one in use by the most people. The problem is, I have no idea how to find that info. A quick Google search appears to give largely irrelevant answers, largely recommending the authors' ideas of what's best.

I would think it would be Visual Studio, under whatever name, but I'd hate to guess wrong.

I'm mostly concerned with the GUI side of things; the vast majority of the non-UI code will stick to the standards.


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#1
January 20, 2020 at 04:17:50
Without a doubt, the most popular C++ compiler for Windows is the Microsoft one that is included in Visual Studio or the Windows SDK.

The GUI is independent of the compiler used, but for design purposes you would be using Visual Studio.


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#2
January 24, 2020 at 04:35:41
That's what I figure, but is there any way to know for sure? Some website that collects such info, or the like? I'd hate to program for MSVC and then find out that, say, some GCC variant was way more popular.

message edited by eriksiers


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#3
January 24, 2020 at 06:02:37
Well, tbh, the compiler used shouldn't really matter. As long as you stick to C++ standards, one compiler is much like any other in the code they accept. The main differences are in the code produced, particularly optimizations, and the speed they work at. If you do use any features that are unique to your compiler you should protect that code with defines so that a different compiler won't try to compile it. Having said that, if you want to produce .NET assemblies then you are probably going to have to use the Microsoft tools. Microsoft wrote Windows, so why wouldn't you use their development tools?

Ideally you would check your code with all popular compilers and use the appropriate #ifdefs to cope with any differences; unfortunately this would cost you as the Intel C++ compiler, which is fairly popular, is not free.

Just stick to C++ standards and you should have no problems. And don't rely upon the fact that the most popular compiler today will be the most popular one next year.


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