What's New in CLion

The C++ ecosystem is evolving, and so is our cross-platform C/C++ IDE. CLion 2021.2 can help you by protecting your code from typical C++ memory safety issues, simplifying your build configurations, and making debugging easier and more effective.

CMake support

CMake 3.20 is supported and bundled in CLion 2021.2. This version includes CMake Presets, major updates to the CMake File API, support for C++23 compiler modes, and many updates for CUDA developers.

CMake Presets

CMake Presets

Store your project build configuration in new and universal CMake Presets, and CLion will automatically detect and import the necessary CMake Build Presets.

It will notify you and suggest reloading the presets if any changes are introduced to them, either in the editor or externally.

You can manage the imported presets in Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | CMake.

Learn more

New CMake project templates

New CMake project templates

Additional templates for creating new CMake projects are available in the New Project wizard. They cover C and C++ libraries and executables, CUDA libraries and executables, and Qt projects.

You can find and edit the templates in Settings | Editor | File and Code Templates | Other.

CMake target in configurations

CMake targets as Before Launch tasks

In the Before Launch section of the Run/Debug configuration, users can now specify CMake Target tasks, both built-in and user-specified. These tasks will be performed before starting the selected target.

Makefile projects

GNU Autotools

Support for GNU Autotools

CLion now automatically detects GNU Autotools, Kbuild, and PERL MakeMaker projects. When these projects are loaded as Makefile projects, CLion automatically detects preconfiguration scripts and executes them to get the Makefile and load the project from it.

Preconfiguration step

Preconfiguration step

CLion 2021.2 detects whether the project has any configure.ac or configure scripts required to create its Makefile. On project load, CLion executes these preconfiguration steps automatically by using the command set in Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | Makefile settings.

Load Makefile Project

Load Makefile Project action

If you open a project in CLion without loading the Makefile project model, you can still load it later. This might happen if your project requires some custom preconfiguration steps and no final Makefile is available until those steps are finished. To load it, call the context menu on the project's top-level Makefile and select Load Makefile Project.

Debugger update

Natvis support

Windows: better Natvis support

When you use the Microsoft Visual C++ toolchain on Windows, CLion provides its own LLDB-based debugger. Data rendering in this debugger was improved in v2021.2:

  • Natvis customization features such as Inheritable attribute, format specifiers, and CustomListItems are now supported.
  • Built-in renderers were improved by adding one-line colored summaries for all structures not covered by Natvis, enabling formatting for wide/Unicode strings, and showing the [Raw View] for Natvis-generated values.

Learn more

Minidumps

Windows: minidumps debug

Postmortem debugging with core dumps is now supported on Windows. Use the Run | Open Core Dump action to start a core dump debug session.

External Console

Windows: Run in external console

Instead of the internal console used by CLion, on Windows, it’s now possible to switch to the cmd.exe console to run and debug applications. Use the Run in external console checkbox in Run/Debug configuration to change the behavior.

Relaxed breakpoints

Relaxed breakpoints

There are cases with breakpoints when path mappings are too complex to fill them in in the debug configuration, or when the -fdebug-prefix-map option is set in the debugger. In these situations, it's now possible to use just the file name instead of its absolute path during debugging sessions.

Breakpoints in disassembly view

Breakpoints in disassembly view

While stepping through assembly code, you can now add/remove breakpoints on instruction lines. For non-default configuration of these address breakpoints, use the right-click context menu menu.

Preview tab for Debugger

Preview tab for Debugger

To avoid cluttering the editor with many tabs during stepping, consider enabling the preview tab. In CLion 2021.2 it works during debug sessions and allows you to view files in a single tab one by one, without opening each file in a new tab.

Remote LLDB

Remote LLDB and LLDB 12

To improve debugging with LLDB, LLDB v12.0 is now bundled. Remote debugging of any arbitrary executable from CLion is now possible with LLDB (in addition to GDB). Use the new Remote Debug configuration to provide arguments to connect to the remote host. On a remote host, you'll need to launch lldb-server/debugserver. Check out our web help for more details.

FreeRTOS thread view

FreeRTOS thread view

If you debug applications with FreeRTOS in CLion, a view with the task lists is now available. You can switch to the task you are interested in to explore task variables and more.

Learn more

Code Analysis

Diagnose common cases of dangling pointers and escaping from a local scope by using static analysis. This capability is made possible by the Lifetime Safety proposal that CLion has partially implemented. GSL annotations are also supported to let you mark your code and make local analysis more accurate.

Cling interpreter

Cling

Cling is an interactive C++ interpreter built on top of Clang and LLVM. It allows you to run code without building the project, which can be especially useful for prototyping and learning C++.

Install Cling on your system and benefit from its integration with CLion:

  • Start a new Cling session.
  • Send included headers or selection to Cling.
  • Send the current line to the Cling session via the code intention.

Learn more

Remote and WSL

Profiling in remote mode and on WSL

Profiling is now possible in remote mode and on WSL. In both cases, the Perf backend is required. Find the instructions in our web help on how to install the Perf tool for your particular kernel release.

You'll also need to configure the path to the Perf tool in CLion Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | Dynamic Analysis Tools | Perf.

Docker

Remote development in Docker

For Docker containers with mapped volumes, remote development without source synchronization is now available in CLion. This mode removes the code duplication and the initial project upload step. Learn how to configure this mode in Docker and in CLion.

WSL configuration

WSL configuration

WSL configuration in CLion has become much easier, as you no longer need an SSH server inside a WSL distribution to work with WSL in CLion. CLion now uses a dedicated WSL API.

CLion now supports WSL whether it's installed from the Microsoft Store or a custom distribution.

Text search in Local History

Local History

Text search through file revisions in Local History appeared in CLion 2021.2, helping you locate the point you want to roll back to more easily.

VCS

Pre-commit actions

Changes to pre-commit checks

In v2021.2, we expanded the list of possible pre-commit actions with the ability to execute tests. Tick the Run Tests checkbox and select the configuration to run.

We also added the ability to customize the Analyze code and Cleanup options by clicking Choose profile next to them.

Unified Show Diff

CLion shows the difference between the initial and changed files in the editor by default, no matter where you invoke the Show Diff action. If you prefer to track changes in a separate window, simply drag the desired file outside the editor.

GPG signature

CLion 2021.2 offers a way to secure your commits. To enable Git commit signing with GPG, go to Settings | Version Control | Git, click Configure GPG Key, and then select it from the drop-down list.

Toolbox App

Toolbox update

Do you use the Toolbox App to manage CLion installations and updates? Now you won't miss any critical product updates from it. Your IDE will alert you if there is a new version available for download and give you the option to upgrade right from CLion.

Localized UI

You can now enjoy the CLion UI in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. The fully localized UIs are available as non-bundled language pack plugins, which can be installed in CLion from Settings | Plugins.

Other enhancements

Some other useful improvements and enhancements in CLion 2021.2 include:

  • If you want certain operations to be performed on Save, you can now configure them all in one place, in Settings | Tools | Actions on Save.
  • It is now easier to reorganize tool windows. Hover over the top of the tool window you want to move, then drag it to where you want it and drop it there.
  • IntelliJ Rust introduced a new name resolution engine and initial WSL support. The plugin is now also capable of expanding certain procedural macros.

What's New in CLion 2021.1

CLion 2021.1 is enhancing the code analysis experience by upgrading Data Flow Analysis to global mode, expanding MISRA support, and integrating with Clazy for Qt projects. In the debugger, GDB and LLDB have reached feature parity for Core Dump debugging. And finally, remote mode has a wider range of abilities and works consistently across several project models.

Data Flow Analysis

Data flow analysis (DFA) tracks the flow of data in your code and detects potential issues based on that analysis. In addition to the local DFA (which works within a single function), CLion 2021.1 includes global DFA (which takes a whole translation unit of a program as a single unit for analysis). Global DFA not only enriches the already existing checks but also adds several new unique inspections.

Enhancing local checks with global DFA

The list of current DFA-based inspections that benefit from global DFA includes:

  • Dangling pointers – detects pointers that may point to already deleted memory.
  • Null dereference – detects dereferencing pointers that may contain nullptr.
  • Endless loops and Infinite recursion.
  • Constant conditions – detects possible conditions that are always true or false.
  • Unreachable code and Unused values.
  • Escape analysis – detects variables containing references to local variables that escape their scope.

New global DFA checks

A few new inspections have been added that only make sense when analyzing globally – running DFA on a whole translation unit of a program:

  • Constant function result – reports functions whose return value appears to always be the same constant.
  • Constant parameter – reports functions where a parameter appears to always be the same constant.
  • Unreachable function calls – detects functions whose call sites are never executed.

Performance improvements

CLion 2021.1 also optimizes many steps in DFA. The performance measurements on Postgres, Eigen, and Clangd projects, among others, show that the overall performance is good and that some characteristics have improved (such as the number of files where DFA execution was terminated by CLion because of a timeout).

Learn more

Dynamic analysis

Branch coverage

Branch coverage

In addition to line coverage, CLion 2021.1 can now also calculate Branch Coverage. This method takes into account all the branches of each control structure. Run your CMake application or tests with coverage and check out the new column that’s been added to the Coverage tool window.

Branch coverage is enabled by default and can be adjusted in Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | Coverage, but it only works with GCC/gcov or version 12.0.0 and higher of LLVM/llvm-cov.

Dynamic analysis in Remote mode

Dynamic analysis in Remote mode

In order to reach feature consistency across all toolchains, project models, and configurations, CLion 2021.1 makes it possible for Google Sanitizers, Valgrind Memcheck, and Code Coverage to work with remote toolchains.

MISRA C and C++ checks

CLion 2021.1 adds more checks from MISRA C 2012 and MISRA C++ 2008. The full list is maintained on our confluence page and allows you to easily track the progress.

Postfix completion for C and C++

Postfix code completion for C and C++ lets you add code around an expression you’ve just typed. It can wrap an expression with a frequently used language construct, or pass the expression as the first argument of a free function.

Postfix template

Wrap the expression with language construct

Postfix templates can help you with common language constructs. Type an expression then a dot, and then add the postfix template abbreviation and press the expansion key, or select the required template from the completion list that appears. The expanded template will wrap the given expression. Find the full list of templates in Settings | Editor | General | Postfix Completion.

Postfix function parameter

Pass the expression to a free function

Use postfix code completion to pass the expression you’ve just typed to a free function as the first argument. Type an expression, then a dot, and select a free function from the completion list that appears.

Enhancements for Makefile projects

Initial support for Remote Makefile projects

Initial support for Remote Makefile projects

CLion 2021.1 allows you to work with Makefile projects on a remote machine. Change the toolchain in the Makefile settings to a remote one, then reload the project and it will synchronize with the remote machine. Compile, run, and debug your application remotely from your locally running CLion.

Check out known issues and limitations.

Makefile Language plugin

Makefile Language plugin

The Makefile Language plugin (previously 3rd-party) is now maintained by the CLion team and comes bundled in CLion. The plugin provides make syntax highlighting, quick documentation, Find Usages for targets, and a variety of navigation and code completion actions for Makefile.

Enhancements for CMake projects

Share CMake Profiles in VCS

Share CMake Profiles in VCS

CMake Profile settings in CLion are now stored in a cmake.xml file in the .idea directory and can be shared in the VCS along with the project. Simply select the Share option in Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | CMake.

CLion 2021.1 bundles CMake 3.19. In addition to the other changes it introduces, this is the first CMake version to support Apple Silicon (M1 chip).

CMake 3.19 features for CUDA are now supported in CLion, which includes autocompletion for a few new CMake variables.

Enhancements for Qt projects

Clazy integration

Clazy integration

Clazy, a Qt-oriented static code analyzer, is now integrated into CLion’s Clangd-based engine. CLion currently uses version 1.8. Checks are displayed in the editor and quick-fixes are also available.

Users can configure CLion’s severity level and the level of the Clazy checks in Settings | Editor | Inspections | C/C++ | General | Clazy.

QtCreator keymap

QtCreator keymap

For those used to the key bindings in QtCreator, CLion now bundles the QtCreator keymap. You can switch to it in Settings or via a Quick Switch Scheme action (Ctrl+`).

Debugger

Set Execution Point in disassembly

Set Execution Point in disassembly

The Set Execution Point action lets you jump to an arbitrary line of code in the editor during a debug session and set the execution point there, skipping all the other commands in between. It now works in the disassembly view, so you can move the execution point while stepping through the assembly code.

Core dumps debugging

Core dumps debugging

When debugging core dumps in CLion 2021.1, users can now set sysroot in the corresponding run configuration. This will help localize library symbols when debugging core dumps from binaries built on other systems.

Explicitly setting symbol files when debugging a core dump for non-symbolized binary with LLDB now also provides necessary information about the symbols to CLion. With this fix, GDB and LLDB have reached feature parity for core dump debugging in CLion!

Remote terminal

Remote terminal

A new Tools | Open Remote Host Terminal action opens the project directory on the remote host if it exists. The remote host corresponds to the remote profile that is currently selected, or if a local one is selected, the first remote profile found in the project.

Project view

External Sources

Source files located outside of the project root are now grouped under the External Sources node in the Project tree. This helps prevent the top-level crowding of these files.

VCS

Profile for pre-commit inspections

Profile for pre-commit inspections

CLion can inspect your code before you commit it to help you make sure there are no bugs. Choose a code inspection profile before committing changes to VCS – click the gear icon to display the commit options, select the Analyze code checkbox, click Choose profile, and select the desired profile.

Git commit templates

You can create a custom commit message template in Git and CLion will display this text as an initial commit message.

Save to Shelf

A new Save to Shelf action allows you to copy your changes to the Shelf while keeping them in the local changes. You can access this action by pressing Ctrl+Shift+A and typing ‘Save to Shelf’.

Learn more about other VCS improvements across all IntelliJ-based products.

Rust plugin update

Rust plugin update

IntelliJ Rust now provides a structured view for the compiler’s build output. The tab opens automatically in the Build tool window when you call a Cargo command that includes a build step. This new feature works with Cargo versions 1.48.0 or later.

Another significant update is the new Change Signature refactoring. It helps you modify a function/method signature, affecting all references. You can quickly change a function’s name or return type, reorder or add/remove parameters, and add an async or unsafe prefix.

The Rename refactoring now gives renaming suggestions for elements like structs, functions, and local variables when you change a name in the editor.

Conditional compilation support has been improved. Find Usages is now available for Cargo features, and completion works for the feature argument in the cfg and cfg_attr attributes. Also, if there are nested attributes inside cfg_attr, the plugin takes that into account during name resolution and code analysis.

Code With Me

Code With Me

Code With Me, a new JetBrains service for collaborative development and pair programming, is now bundled with CLion.

Set the required level of access to your project and share the link with your guests. Your peers do not even need to have an IDE of their own installed to collaborate with you. Embedded audio and video calls, along with chat messaging, will help teams discuss the code, share their knowledge, and cooperate more efficiently.

To learn more about the availability of Code With Me with your current JetBrains license, check out the pricing page.

Space integration

The Space plugin is now available for CLion. You can connect to your organization in JetBrains Space via Get from VCS, located right on the welcome screen. Once logged in, you can view and clone project repositories, review your teammates’ code, and write Space Automation scripts.

Other enhancements

  • CLion will now automatically apply the high-contrast theme when you launch the IDE for the first time if you are using the high-contrast mode on Windows.
  • With the new typography settings, fine-tune the weight of your main and bold font styles in Settings | Editor | Fonts.
  • Whenever several tabs that split the editor vertically are open, you can double-click any of them to maximize the editor window for that specific tab. To bring the window back to its original size, simply double-click it again.

What's New in CLion 2020.3

CLion 2020.3 brings significant, eagerly anticipated improvements to key parts of the development process – code analysis, running and debugging applications, and unit testing. For embedded projects, CLion now comes with initial MISRA C and C++ support. And Qt users can benefit from IDE features tuned specifically for working with Qt code.

Debugger

Debug as Root

CLion 2020.3 can run and debug your application with root privileges – you just need to select this option in the corresponding Run/Debug configuration. This works for CMake, Makefile, Gradle Native, Custom Build, and CTest applications.

Debugging with Core Dumps

Debugging with Core Dumps

A new Run | Open Core Dump… action available for Linux and macOS allows you to open an existing core dump of a crashed process in CLion and debug it there. Users can inspect the frames and variables view, check the memory and disassembly view, evaluate expressions, and run debugger commands from the debugger console. Read more about this feature’s configuration process and known limitations.

Set Execution Point

Set Execution Point

With a new Set Execution Point to Cursor action, you can move back and forth though your program’s execution while debugging, break loops or restart them, select another branch in an if-else clause or switch-case statement, and even skip loops completely. It is as simple as dragging-and-dropping an arrow in the gutter to the line you are interested in.

Learn more

Interactive hints and Inline watches

Interactive hints and Inline watches

Now when the application is running in debug mode, the editor displays clickable inline hints that you can expand to see all the fields belonging to a given variable. Moreover, you can change the variable values inside the drop-down list or add an arbitrary expression as an Inline Watch to this place in the code.

Run Settings

Configure environment with a script

Configure environment with a script

In CLion, you can now use a script to specify the environment in which a Run/Debug configuration will be launched. You'll find the new setting for this in all Application and Unit Testing configurations.

Edit configurations while indexing

Edit configurations while indexing

No more waiting! Run/Debug configurations can be edited while the project is being indexed.

Unit testing

CTest support

CTest support

CTest, a CMake-specific test runner, is now supported in CLion. This means the list of tests that are run with CTest is detected, and the IDE automatically creates run/debug configurations for them. When tests are launched, the results are presented in the built-in test runner, from which you can debug tests, rerun only failed tests, and much more.

Learn more

Test runner for Google Test

Test runner for Google Test

Version 2020.3 enhances CLion’s support for Google Test, the most popular C++ unit testing framework in the world (Developer Ecosystem Research in 2020 shows that 31% of C++ developers use Google Test).


    Updates include:
  • The full test tree is displayed immediately in the built-in test runner, and then the tests are executed.
  • For parameterized tests, CLion now displays test parameters right in the test tree.
  • Disabled tests (those with the DISABLED prefix in their names) are now also shown in the test tree with the corresponding icon.

Code analysis and refactoring

MISRA

MISRA C and C++

CLion 2020.3 brings partial support for MISRA C 2012 and MISRA C++ 2008, guidelines used widely in embedded development and especially in the automotive industry. This support speeds up the development of such projects by revealing incompatibilities earlier in the development cycle. The list of currently supported checks is available on CLion’s Confluence page.

Unused value

Unused value

CLion 2020.3 improves the Unused Value inspection, which catches situations where a variable value is never used after it has been assigned. It can now also be tuned to follow the style that recommends using default variable initializers. A new option to turn the inspection off in such cases has been added to the settings.

Extract Lambda Parameter

Extract Lambda Parameter

A new Extract Lambda Parameter refactoring has been added to CLion. It extracts an expression or statement into a new parameter with a lambda expression passed as a corresponding argument. The statement could, for example, be a comparator passed to a sorting function.

Watch Extract Refactorings in Action

Code completion

Clang completion snippets

Clang completion snippets

Clang completion snippets help you insert common constructs when C++ keywords are typed. In some cases, when completing a typedef keyword, for example, code completion can suggest not only the keyword itself but also stubs for the type and the new name.

Completion for templates

Completion for templates

CLion 2020.3 improves code completion, as it now works much more accurately with template types. For example, completion options are displayed for container elements and iterators in the function template.

Qt projects

Create a new Qt project

Create a new Qt project

The New Project dialog suggests the Qt Console Executable and Qt Widgets Executable project types. You can also select the Qt CMake prefix path, the C++ language standard to be used in the project, and the Qt version. The new project is generated using the corresponding templates.

Create a new Qt UI Class

Create a new Qt UI Class

A new QT UI Class item in the New menu (Alt+Insert) helps you simultaneously create a Qt class along with a .ui file. Fill in the class name and select the parent class (QWidget, QMainWindow, or QDialog). .h/.cpp/.ui files will be generated using the Filename base as their file names. The generated files follow the templates listed in Settings/Preferences | Editor | File and Code TemplatesQt Class, Qt Class Header, and Qt Designer Form.

Complete signals and slots

Complete signals and slots

Signals and slots are central features of Qt, as they are the entities used for communication between objects. CLion now understands when signals or slots have to be completed, and it filters only the corresponding members in the completion dropdown.

Auto-import in Qt style

Auto-import in Qt style

Auto-import suggestions in Qt projects in CLion 2020.3 are tuned to follow the most commonly used style for Qt.

Makefile projects

Support for projects using libtool, dolt, and ccache

Support for projects using libtool, dolt, and ccache

Makefile projects using various wrappers like ccache, libtool, dolt, slibtool, and jlibtool can now be successfully loaded in CLion. Read more about some of the limitations that remain.

Run/Debug configurations

Run/Debug configurations

Setting up a Makefile project in CLion is now even easier – the Run/Debug configurations are created automatically for the targets in the top-level Makefile when loading the project. Now to run and debug, you just need to point the configuration to the built executable.

Learn more

Recompile single file

Recompile single file

The Recompile action (Ctrl+Shift+F9) helps speed up the development process by compiling a single file without building the whole project. It now works for Makefile projects, too!

CMake

Enable/Disable CMake Profiles

Enable/Disable CMake Profiles

With CLion 2020.3, it’s now possible to keep several CMake profiles configured in CLion while disabling the ones that are not currently in use. This improves the project loading times and saves from the redundant failures from temporarily unavailable profiles (like for the remote configurations which are currently shut down). The option is available from the CMake tool window and the CMake Profiles settings dialog.

Learn more

VCS

Git tab in Search Everywhere

Git tab in Search Everywhere

The Search Everywhere dialog now includes a Git tab. It helps with finding commit hashes and messages, tags, and branches. You can also perform simple mathematical calculations in the search field.

UI updates

The VCS menu is now named according to the version control system in use. We’ve made the menu more concise, removing all but the most useful actions for versioning your project.

Additionally, now the two most popular buttons – Commit and Commit and Push… – are explicitly shown on the Commit screen.

Git staging support

You can now stage changes directly from CLion. To enable this feature, go to Preferences/Settings | Version Control | Git and tick the Enable staging area checkbox. Click the + icon to add your files to the new Staged node in the Commit view. You can also stage changes right from the gutter or in the Diff view. To learn more, read our blog post.

Remote development

Automatic update of Exclude paths

Automatic update of Exclude paths

Directories marked as Excluded locally are now automatically marked as Excluded paths for remote toolchains when they are initially being configured. And when changes are made to an already synchronized project, CLion shows an update notification and suggests updating the list of Excluded paths.

Learn the details

Code With Me

Code With Me

CLion 2020.3 supports Code With Me (EAP), a new service from JetBrains for collaborative development and pair programming. Code With Me enables you to share the project you currently have open in your IDE with others, and work on it together in real time. You can download it today from the plugin marketplace (Preferences / Settings | Plugins | Marketplace). Check out these posts to learn more about Code With Me.

UI update

Updates to Welcome screen

Updates to Welcome screen

CLion 2020.3 gets a revamped Welcome screen. The new layout puts the most common operations at your fingertips and gives you immediate access to recent projects, customization options, and plugin settings.

Drag and drop for tabs

Splitting an editor

It’s now possible to split an editor by dragging and dropping a tab to the side of the main editor window. The Open in Right Split action splits the editor vertically upon opening a file.

You can invoke the action from the Project view or from other navigation popups, such as Recent Files and Search Everywhere (Shift+Enter).

IDE theme synced with OS settings

IDE theme synced with OS settings

CLion can now synchronize with your OS theme. To enable this feature, go to Settings / Preferences | Appearance & Behavior | Appearance and tick the Sync with OS checkbox. Click the gear icon next to Sync with OS to select your preferred theme.

Rust plugin update

Rust plugin update

IntelliJ Rust now fully supports Cargo features and allows you to configure them with a smart new UI. Features of a workspace can be toggled on and off with a single click, and the plugin’s code assistance will take these settings into account. Check out the details in this blog post.

Also, the plugin now allows using Rustfmt as the default code formatter. Just set the corresponding checkbox in Settings / Preferences | Languages & Frameworks | Rust | Rustfmt, and the whole file reformatting will employ Rustfmt. For now, if you call Reformat Code on a selection, the IDE’s formatter will be used instead.

The plugin’s project wizard has been enhanced with more templates and the option to use custom cargo-generate templates.

Other updates include the introduction of WebAssembly project support and a new experimental engine for name resolution.