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I'm asking this question because my creativity can only go so far with console programs in C++.

I need to know what program/software the majority of c++ software developers out there use develop GUI in C++.

I'm heading into College in a couple weeks and want to major in Computer programming and I really would like that head start. Thanks.

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closed as off-topic by jmo21, Corbin March, Bart van Ingen Schenau, MichaelT, GlenH7 Aug 18 '13 at 19:02

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qt –  aaronman Aug 18 '13 at 7:26
MS Visual Studio, I suspect, is probably the IDE most used for C++ desktop apps. –  GrandmasterB Aug 18 '13 at 7:40

4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Since C++ does not have a standard GUI toolkit, you must choose a GUI toolkit first.

Speaking about C++ GUI toolkits, probably Qt is the best way to go, since it is multiplatform and of industrial strength.

Qt has a nice IDE, QtCreator (a fully-featured C++ IDE), which also has QtDesigner (a GUI layout designer) integrated.

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I'm just curious: what does "industrial strength" mean? –  Marco A. Aug 18 '13 at 19:51
Well, this is not a well-defined term, but Qt has kinda everything you need to create professional GUIs. –  Miklós Homolya Aug 18 '13 at 20:10
@Paul - Qt has been proven to be stable and functional by the Industry. Just have to look at the Bitcoin Qt client to see widespread adoption. –  Ramhound Aug 23 '13 at 12:28

Here are some frameworks. "Programs" are for artist, programmers program.

Qt. I have used the python binding and it is quite simple and powerful. Not sure how simple it is under C++.

Kiwi has only python API, I believe , but is cross-patatform - think the major OS-es plus mobile.

gtk is the direct rival of qt.

MFC - I learned on this. Wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Other than this, I very much agree with aaronman - any application should be written in the highest level possible language that does not validate the constraints of dependability and efficiency. This is in order to save valuable programmer time. GUIs are run on powerful multi-core processors, so let's write them in an programmer-efficient cpu-inefficient manner. And that;s why Eclipse loads 5 seconds on an i7.

Wikipedia article, making this answer obsolete.

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"And that's why Eclipse loads 5 seconds on an i7." And that's why I don't use Eclipse even on an i7. Seriously, there is no excuse to not having instant-loading GUI programs in 2015. –  Jean-Michaël Celerier Jul 8 at 15:52

qt is one that I see used a lot (don't have any experience with it myself. However for beginners generally C++ is hard to learn and you don't want to start by programming GUI's in C++. Choose a language like java, python(or many many others) that have their own built in UI frameworks, for starting in GUI programming you will find these much easier. You could also try some webdesign, which you have to learn HTML and javascript for (I found it pretty easy to pick up webdesign)

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I guess it depends on the platform.

  • On Windows, that would probably be Visual Studio. The latest edition, Visual Studio 2012, is also available in an "express" edition, which lacks some features but is free. If you are going to program in C++ on Windows, this is the environment you need to get familiar with. See this download page at Microsoft.

  • On other desktop platforms, I suppose both Qt Creator and Eclipse have their adepts. Qt Creator, of course, is ideal for working with Qt. If you're not tied to a particular GUI framework, then Eclipse might be a good bet. See this page at Qt-Project for Qt Creator and this page at for Eclipse as a C++ IDE.

I confess I have no idea what are the most popular environments for non-desktop targets. It's very possible they are the same, but I let other people here give you proper advice on that matter.

Note: I understand you're asking about IDEs, not GUI libraries. Regarding those, MFC deserves your attention on Windows, and my guess is that Qt is the most popular C++ GUI framework outside of Windows.

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I don't think eclipse has a gui designer tool for any c++ library. At least not mentioned in that CDT link. –  jiggunjer Jul 16 at 17:23

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