In CLion, a toolchain is a set of all the necessary tools required for building and running your application. CLion v2021.3 makes toolchains more flexible, easier to configure and customize.
Docker containers are one of the most popular and easiest ways to set up an environment and start working with it. Instead of using Remote toolchain for Docker in CLion, you can now use the native Docker toolchain. It avoids redundant source code synchronization, as the project folder is simply mounted to the container.
CLion also bundles the Docker plugin, which brings the Services tool window and many docker-specific actions to the IDE.
Suppose you are using a custom compiler or a compiler not yet known to CLion natively, which is often the case in embedded development. There is now a way to describe all the necessary information about the compiler to CLion and work with it as if it were natively supported.
Use Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | Toolchains | Custom Defined Compiler to enable it and provide the *.yaml file that contains your custom compiler definition. Check out the sample configs prepared by the CLion team for you.
In some cases the environment in which the compiler runs is initialized via script. It can initialize compiler environmental variables, customize the PATH variable, and more.
Use Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | Toolchains and select Add environment | From file in CLion to source such a script for the toolchain you are using.
CLion now bundles the MinGW toolchain on Windows for quick setup, which you can rely on if you don’t have any other options installed on your machine. The exact version bundled is MinGW-w64 9.0 with
languages=c,c++, posix threads, and
Another improvement for MinGW users is a bundled 64 bit GDB v10.2 with Python support.
A new System toolchain on Windows, similar to the same toolchain type on Linux and macOS, allows configuring CMake, compiler, and debugger executables without selecting a predefined environment (like MinGW, Cygwin, WSL, or Visual Studio). This might be used for the ARM toolchain or other embedded toolchains on Windows.
A new UI for setting the CMake generator was added to the CMake Profile settings page (Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | CMake). Users can use the default value for the toolchain selected or set any generator from the predefined list.
When the UI field is used, CMake options on the same page are updated automatically and vice versa.
Ninja is one of the most popular and effective CMake generators currently used. CLion 2021.3 comes with Ninja v1.10.2 bundled.
For local toolchains (i.e. excluding Remote, Docker, WSL) and CMake v3.20 and higher, Ninja is now the default generator for newly created projects or projects opened in CLion for the first time.
CLion now bundles CMake 3.21.1. CMake File API is used by default to query project information in CLion for CMake v3.20 and higher. Learn more.
CLion now supports CMake Presets v3.
Use the new Build directory option in Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | Makefile to configure the directory where all make tasks are executed when the Makefile project is loaded in CLion. The configured directory is passed via
-C option to the make call. Folders like autom4te.cache in the build directory are marked by CLion as excluded.
While it’s still possible to use the Gradle project model for C++ projects in CLion, both Gradle and Gradle Native plugins in CLion are now unbundled. You can install them via Settings | Plugins.
Heavily templated standard library types, or types with global and obvious namespace specifiers, can produce long entries in the variables view during debugging.
To improve the debugging experience, CLion now performs some additional processing to render types in the variables view in a more readable and friendlier way:
In the frames view in the debugger, in addition to type rendering improvements, CLion now improves functions presentation:
A new View as Array… action is now available for any pointer variable and adds a watchpoint that renders a pointer value as array. The action is available in the context menu in the variables view. All you need to do is specify the size of the array.
To control the presentation of the types, variables, and frames in the debugger, use the new settings in Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | Debugger | Data Views | C/C++ (or just Data Views, without the separate C/C++ section if all other languages debuggers are disabled for you in CLion).
Alternatively, you can control the presentation from the context menu right in the Debug tool window.
As part of the ongoing debugger UI redesign, Evaluate expression is now integrated right in the Debug tool window. This makes it more discoverable and easy to use.
When debugging multithreaded applications, you have to track multiple threads at the same time. The new Parallel Stacks view is implemented as a separate tab in the Debug tool window and shows thread call stack information for all the threads. It allows checking the call paths and execution points of all running threads.
Hex view for numeric variables was improved and is no longer an experimental feature in CLion. Enable it in Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | Debugger | Data Views | C/C++ or in the context menu in the variables view.
CLion 2021.3 comes with bundled LLDB v13.
FreeRTOS thread view was expanded by adding objects and heap views:
Zephyr RTOS is now supported. To enable the tasks view, similar to the one available for FreeRTOS, use Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | Embedded Development | RTOS Integration and select Zephyr there.
CLion 2021.3 adds type hints for deduced types to increase code readability. The new hints help with types for auto variables, in structured bindings, and for lambda return types.
You can disable or enable specific type hints in Settings | Editor | Inlay Hints | C/C++ or right from the hint’s context menu.
If the type hint includes the template instantiation, the template arguments can be collapsed by simply clicking on the angle brackets. Also, Ctrl+Click allows you to navigate to the declaration of the type you clicked on.
When exploring the structure of the file in the Structure tool window (Alt+7) or in the Structure pop-up (Ctrl+F12), you can distinguish functions with the same names more easily, as CLion now shows qualified names for the member functions there.
LLVM tools in CLion were upgraded to v14.0.0. This improves the accuracy of the Clangd-based language engine and updates bundled Clang-Tidy and ClangFormat executables. For Clang-Tidy, this also means there are a few new checks you’ll be notified about when CLion is first launched after the update.
New MISRA checks were added to CLion’s built-in analyzer:
The full list of MISRA C 2012 and MISRA C++ 2008 checks available in CLion can be found here.
CLion’s data flow analysis now treats different calls differently, and so has become more accurate. This specifically means that:
CLion’s lifetime analysis (based on Herb Sutter’s Lifetime Safety proposal) was enhanced and it can now capture cases like dangling iterator and modified owner (as owners passed by non-const reference are assumed to be modified).
Sometimes, you may have several commits that are ready to ship while others are still a work in progress. In such cases, you may want to push only the ones you are confident about. The new Push All up to Here action allows you to push commits up to the one you have selected in the Log tab of the Git tool window.
<>for header files belonging to the project. This default behavior can be changed by turning off Settings | Editor | General | Auto Import | C/C++ | Auto import local files with quotes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Postmortem debugging with core dumps is now supported on Windows. Use the Run | Open Core Dump action to start a core dump debug session.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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:
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.
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 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 through file revisions in Local History appeared in CLion 2021.2, helping you locate the point you want to roll back to more easily.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some other useful improvements and enhancements in CLion 2021.2 include:
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.
The list of current DFA-based inspections that benefit from global DFA includes:
A few new inspections have been added that only make sense when analyzing globally – running DFA on a whole translation unit of a program:
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).
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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+`).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
You can create a custom commit message template in Git and CLion will display this text as an initial commit message.
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.
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_attr attributes. Also, if there are nested attributes
cfg_attr, the plugin takes that into account during name resolution and
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.