Whereas software development on Unix (and hence Linux) systems is traditionally command-line-based, developers on other platforms are used to so-called integrated development environments (IDEs) that combine an editor, a compiler, a debugger, and possibly other development tools in the same application. Developers coming from these environments are often dumbfounded when confronted with the Linux command line and asked to type in the gcc command.[*]
In order to cater to these migrating developers, but also because Linux developers are increasingly demanding more comfort, IDEs have been developed for Linux as well. There are few of them out there, but only one of them, KDevelop, has seen widespread use in the C and C++ communities. Another IDE, Eclipse, is in turn very popular among Java developers.
KDevelop is a part of the KDE project, but can also be run independently of the KDE desktop. It keeps track of all files belonging to your project, generates makefiles for you, lets you parse C++ classes, and includes an integrated debugger and an application wizard that gets you started developing your application. KDevelop was originally developed to facilitate the development of KDE applications, but can also be used to develop all kinds of other software, such as traditional command-line programs and even GNOME applications.
KDevelop is way too big and feature-rich for us to introduce it to you here, but we want to at least whet your appetite with a screenshot (see Figure 21-2) and point you to http://www.kdevelop.org for downloads and all information, including complete documentation.
Figure 21-2. The KDevelop IDE
Emacs and XEmacs, by the way, make for very fine IDEs that integrate many additional tools such as gdb, as shown earlier in this chapter.