Programming with GNOME Builder: Review and Coding Practice

Introduction

GNOME Builder was created in 2014 by Christian Hergert (GNOME member, currently work in Red Hat). General use case – IDE for GNOME and GNU/Linux technologies. GNOME Builder support C, C++, Python, Vala, JavaScript and others. Good GObjects support is very helpful for GTK+ developers, but don’t leave this article if you use another technology: Builder written in C/Glib and can be faster than typical IDE/Editors written in Java or Python like a IDEA, Eclipse, Sublime. In 2015 get the $50k in the fundraiser company.

Design

For beginning we open GNOME Builder and trying to import new project. Import from a git repository is very comfortable:

After import we can see the full desing of IDE (I enable all features for review). Left panel – directory tree with basic file management features and build options; bottom panel – switchable terminal and system monitor; right panel – help menu and list functions(very helpful tool). Also in right part of code window programmer can enable the Overview Map – small transparent map of opened file. All these panels can be hidden with hotkeys or click on the icons in the header.

More about hotkeys: Builder has a personal hotkeys sheme, but also supports Vim and Emacs mode.

In header we can see the extended search window – double search in code and documentation; panels icon, and menu. Builder also have global menu in GNOME.

Split window – effective work on big displays:

Themes support, my favorite is Oblivion:

Coding

In my opinion GNOME Builder is most effective for C/C++ programming: auto completion, auto indentation, many snippets and error checker. Builder use Clang for code analyze and sometime it works very strange: inadequate variants of completion or snippets. Compilation is possible via autotools by Builder menu. Another great things is Git integration – Builder checks your commits and highlight uncommitted lines. Every language has personal settings: line numbers, right margin, auto indent and smart backspace. Programming with Builder is very comfortable – don’t forget that project is very young.

The same features have also the Python support, but auto completion is better:

For HTML and Markdown the GNOME Builder has a special preview mode:

Builder is also usable for other languages like Go as an editor with steroids: autocompletion, highlights, matching brackets and others.

Summary

The best features in my opinion:

  • easy projects management and import
  • auto completion for C/C++/Python
  • auto indentation for many languages
  • quick jump between functions, documentation and files
  • snippets support
  • preview for HTML and Markdown
  • global search
  • error checks and fix
  • git tracking
  • IDE built-in commands
  • Vim and Emacs mode

This article is also written in GNOME Builder and I recommend to use it. Thanks for reading.

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  • Julián

    Nice review! Builder is shaping up pretty nicely.

    I can see that you put a lot of effort in your reviews. Let me make you a suggestion: before publishing an article, ask someone else to review it since there a quite a bit of little English errors here and there that make the article look unprofessional.

    Other than that, keep at it!

    • Paul Alberto Rufous

      Ok, thank you.