Lesson 1.5. Which compiler to choose?

There are dozens of C compilers, but a few have become very popular. Compilers are usually intended for a specific target. For example, on PC, we will find Mingw for Windows and GCC for Linux. If you want to compile for an AVR microcontroller, you will have to use for example avr-gcc.

Compilers are often associated with development environments (IDE). Beginning developers even tend to mix the two. However, it is important to differentiate between the IDE which allows to write and edit the source code and the compiler which transforms it into an executable file.


Under Windows, the most popular development environments are :

If you want to install one of these IDEs, make sure that the compiler is installed before or at the same time. Otherwise you will have to set up the compilation manually, which is quite tedious.


Under Linux, things are a bit different because the GCC compiler is usually installed natively with the operating system. Any text editor allows you to write C code, then you just have to compile it on the command line. For more user-friendliness, it is possible to install one the following IDEs:

On line compilers

Although limited, there are some online C editors/compilers. The first two do not require the creation of an account, they are ideal for a quick test:

In this course, Replit is used, because it allows you to to insert, compile and execute C code in HTML pages. However, if you want to modify the codes (for doing the exercises for example), you have to create an account on Replit.

See also

Last update : 10/14/2022