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Development environment: CLion enables remote development

JetBrains has now also released CLion in version 2018.3 as part of the regular updates to the development environments. With the release, remote development finds its way into the C ++ IDE for the first time. There are also improvements in the editor, Clangd-based navigation and search, and improved support for C ++ 17 code.

Developed from afar

The development environment introduces a first remote development function, which JetBrains intends to expand in future versions. With CLion 2018.3, CMake-based projects can be developed on a remote Linux system from a Windows, Linux and macOS client. CLion expects the source code on the local machine and synchronizes it with the remote computer. Developers can optionally choose remote mode as the default setting for new and existing projects.

Another innovation is the integration of CPU Profilers under Linux and macOS. DTrace does the analysis for the latter and Perf for the former. With View | Tool Windows | CPU Profiler will display a window with the results. There is currently no similar tool connection for Windows, but JetBrains plans to test corresponding Windows tools in 2019.

C ++ 17 and navigation

The creators of the development environment have also improved the parsing of code with the features Fold Expressions and Deduction Guides introduced in C ++ 17, the use of which probably led to incorrect text highlighting in the previous version. Among other things, the IDE now shows the appropriate type for user-defined deduction guides.

For the current release, JetBrains has expanded the integration of Clangd, a Clang implementation of the Language Server Protocol (LSP) introduced in 2016, which offers tool-independent support for, among other things, auto-completion, formatting and diagnostics. In the meantime, numerous open source tools such as Visual Studio Code, the Eclipse IDE, Atom, Emacs and Vim LSP, but also the C ++ Builder from Embarcadero, has been offering a direct connection since the recently released version 10.3. In CLion, the LSP was previously only used for annotating errors. With version 2018.3, it supports the Go to Declaration and Go to Definition functions, the quick documentation that can be accessed using Ctrl + Q, and the highlighting of references.

Under the hood

The activity monitor, currently marked as experimental, gives an insight into the performance of the development environment and the plug-ins. If you find an exceptionally high CPU load in your subsystem, you can contact CLion support or submit an issue. Unit tests should now run significantly more efficiently than in the predecessor in conjunction with the Google Test, Boost.Test and Catch² frameworks.

The comprehensive search, which can be reached by double-shifting, now integrates various actions in one window: Search Everywhere, Find Action, Go to Class, Go to File and Go to Symbol. Developers can switch between the results using separate tabs for the individual functions.

Other innovations such as multiline //TO DO-Comments and the updated plug-ins for Rust and Swift can be found in the official announcement of CLion 2018.3. Like all JetBrains products, CLion is available by subscription and costs 200 euros for companies and 90 euros for individual customers in the first year. The annual price drops by about 40 percent by the third year. JetBrains does not offer a slimmed-down free version similar to IntelliJ IDEA for CLion, but students, teachers, lecturers and leaders of open source projects can apply for free licenses. (rme)

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