[cfe-dev] Converting from Visual C++

Paul Smith via cfe-dev cfe-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue Nov 5 10:20:52 PST 2019

On Tue, 2019-11-05 at 15:14 +0000, John Emmas via cfe-dev wrote:
> On 05/11/2019 14:29, Michael Kruse wrote:
> > Why not Visual Studio itself?
> Thanks Michael, that's an interesting link. My main reason for
> moving away from Visual Studio has been its lack of cross-platform
> support.  So I'm assuming that if I combined Visual Studio with
> Clang, I still wouldn't get cross-platform compilation (or am I wrong
> about that??)

It's important to be grok the distinction between the *compiler* 
(Visual C++) and the *editor* (IDE), Visual Studio.  If you just want
to continue to develop on Windows, for Windows, using Visual Studio but
using clang instead of Visual C++ _as your compiler_, then you can do

It's not clear what you mean by "cross-platform compilation".  Do you
mean, you want to develop code and compile it natively (or in a virtual
machine etc.) on different operating systems while using the same IDE
across them all?  That is cross-platform development.

Or do you want to work on a single operating system (e.g., Windows) and
compile your code so that it runs on different platforms?  That is

If you want cross-platform development you'll have to find an IDE that
works on all the platforms you want.  There are plenty of them but
Visual Studio is not one of them.

There is Visual Studio Code (not Visual Studio) which is an open-source 
IDE from Microsoft that runs on all platforms including Windows, MacOS,
and GNU/Linux.

Or you can choose from a number of other IDEs, both free and not free,
which are available on multiple platforms.

If you're heavily invested in Visual Studio (using project files, etc.)
then it will take you some effort to extract yourself and start using
cross-platform tools.  That's the disadvantage of vendor lock-in.  I
recommend that you look at using cmake to generate your project files,
for example.  However I'm not aware of any facility that will
automatically convert Visual Studio project files into cmake files so
you will have to do that work by hand.

Here's a post that describes some of the different Visual IDEs; this
may be outdated in details but is still mostly true as far as I'm


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