CLion vs. Microsoft Visual Studio

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
CLion
Score 9.5 out of 10
N/A
JetBrains offers CLion, a cross-platform IDE for C and C+.
$9.90
per month per user
Visual Studio
Score 9.0 out of 10
N/A
Visual Studio (now in the 2022 edition) is a 64-bit IDE that makes it easier to work with bigger projects and complex workloads, boasting a fluid and responsive experience for users. The IDE features IntelliCode, its automatic code completion tools that understand code context and that can complete up to a whole line at once to drive accurate and confident coding.
$45
per month
Pricing
CLionMicrosoft Visual Studio
Editions & Modules
CLion for Individuals
$99
per year per user
CLion for Organizations
$229
per year per user
All Products Pack for Individuals
$289
per year per user
All Products Pack for Organizations
$779
per year per user
Professional
$45.00
per month
Enterprise
$250.00
per month
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
CLionVisual Studio
Free Trial
YesNo
Free/Freemium Version
NoYes
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
NoNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Community Pulse
CLionMicrosoft Visual Studio
Considered Both Products
CLion
Chose CLion
Most IDEs are huge both in disk and memory which causes it to run slow, where CLion is much smaller and faster. That's what I loved about CLion, compared to its rivals. Not to mention its extensive abilities and functions in the debugging process, thanks to which, we were able …
Chose CLion
Visual Studio is the "standard" IDE most people use. It's expensive but generally worth the cost. Where CLion comes into play, people are less concerned with using the Microsoft solution and are open to another party providing them the key IDE resource they need. It's taking a …
Visual Studio
Chose Microsoft Visual Studio
I work mostly in C++ so CLion from Jetbrains is a nice alternative...but it just doesn't stack up to Visual Studio. My paid version of VS meets all of my development needs and has done so for more than two decades so I see no reason to look any further. That said, I have looked …
Chose Microsoft Visual Studio
Visual Studio IDE is a much more comprehensive package with a lot of libraries that come out-of-the-package, compared to its rivals/alternatives who have some specialization and niche areas. Due to this nature, it is possible to develop any kind of software, using almost all …
Top Pros
Top Cons
TrustRadius Insights
CLionMicrosoft Visual Studio
Highlights

TrustRadius
Research Team Insight
Published

CLion from JetBrains and Microsoft’s Visual Studio are cross-platform integrated development environments (IDEs). CLion is built to support development in C and C++ and is a paid service with advanced features. Visual Studio is freemium that offers paid editions as well. Its editors support a variety of languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and JSON,etc.), and it can be used as an XML editor. Visual Studio is one of the most widely used IDEs in the world and is deployed at businesses of all sizes, and in home studios used actively by solo devs. CLion, as a paid service focused on C/C++ development, is deployed primarily at larger entities, often purchased as part of JetBrains All Products Pack where it sits beside the company’s more commonly used products (e.g. IntelliJ Idea).

Features

For building applications, there are plenty of reasons to use either Visual Studio, or CLion.

Visual Studio is a well regarded all-in-one IDE for development, available offline or online with strong debugging, as well as IntelliSense autocomplete, and refactoring. Because of its freemium delivery model and strength in supporting Windows .NET development (or full stack development) it is an integral part of many developer’s toolboxes. You will use it for something, and you probably won’t mind. Because it is easy to look at with a pleasing and efficiency generating UI (users like the light, love the dark), clear outputs that are easy to understand, and integration with Azure DevOps and Git, or other frequently used version control systems and DevOps tools.

CLion is a strong IDE, but primarily for C and C++ development, though it supports other languages. It is not an all-in-one, rather it is a power tool for C/C++ with an overall high rating for core IDE functionality.  It resembles other JetBrains products in its look and functionality, so users of products such as IntelliJ Idea, WebStorm, or PyCharm may find it easy to use, with similar strengths to those products. It supports CMake, and VIM for coding, is easy to grasp with almost no learning curve at all for JetBrains pros, and while there is no free version, its price is regarded as cheap and fair, and it has a free student license to help get student developers get trained up and familiar with JetBrains’ tools.

Limitations

While both products are complete IDE tools, there are some limitations for each that may dissuade users from choosing Visual Studio or CLion for their particular project.

CLion is not the first choice for development that is not in C/C++. Also, it lacks a built-in compiler and compiler installation is subpar. Furthermore, it only runs on 64 bit systems (not 32 bit systems). 

Visual Studio can struggle with speed, sporting a slow startup, sluggish performance during operation, and frustratingly high memory consumption throughout. It is a feature loaded tool, but many features are difficult to locate, difficult to remember where they are or even difficult to understand what they do. While Visual Studio is well supported and regularly updated, users express annoyance at excess shuffling and change in the functionality, location, or operability of seldom used but needed features that can create aggravation.

Pricing

Both CLion and Visual Studio can be tried, learned, and used for free; Visual Studio is free for all, and CLion is available for free on a student license. Otherwise, CLion is available per user for $199 the first year, $159 the second, and $119 subsequent years. A better option may be to obtain it on the JetBrains All Products Pack, bundled with IntelliJ Idea and other popular IDEs and tools, for $649 first year, $519 second year, and $389 subsequent years. For Microsoft’s Visual Studio, its Professional plan includes extra features and services as well as Azure DevOps/Azure DevOps Server features for $1,199 per year (optionally, $45 monthly), and $799 for renewals.The Visual Studio Enterprise plans includes Azure DevOps features (Test Plans, Artifacts, self-hosted pipelines) for a $250 monthly subscription, or with advanced support for annual subscriptions starting at $5,999 the first year, and $2,569 for renewals.

Best Alternatives
CLionMicrosoft Visual Studio
Small Businesses
Visual Studio
Visual Studio
Score 9.0 out of 10
PyCharm
PyCharm
Score 8.9 out of 10
Medium-sized Companies
Visual Studio
Visual Studio
Score 9.0 out of 10
PyCharm
PyCharm
Score 8.9 out of 10
Enterprises
Visual Studio
Visual Studio
Score 9.0 out of 10
PyCharm
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Score 8.9 out of 10
All AlternativesView all alternativesView all alternatives
User Ratings
CLionMicrosoft Visual Studio
Likelihood to Recommend
8.1
(4 ratings)
9.3
(104 ratings)
Likelihood to Renew
10.0
(1 ratings)
10.0
(3 ratings)
Usability
9.0
(1 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
Support Rating
8.1
(3 ratings)
8.8
(15 ratings)
User Testimonials
CLionMicrosoft Visual Studio
Likelihood to Recommend
JetBrains
It's a great fit if you’re looking for a user-friendly C++ IDE; comfortable with using Vim; looking for a fast, intuitive UI; or teaching your students C/C++. It wouldn’t be a good fit if you’re more comfortable with command-line based IDEs or planning to code in multiple languages, as it only supports C and C++.
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Microsoft
It's useful for app development, debugging, and testing. I've been using it for two years and have seen it grow into a fantastic tool. All of the features, NuGet packages, and settings that enable different types of projects are fantastic. It also has a connection to Azure DevOps and Git. It's a fantastic product that's simple to use.
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Pros
JetBrains
  • Software development
  • IDE
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Microsoft
  • Since Microsoft offers a free Community Edition of the IDE many of our new developers have used it at home or school and are very familiar with the user interface, requiring little training to move up to the paid, enterprise-friendly editions we use.
  • The online community support for Visual Studio is outstanding, as solid or better than any other commercial or open-source project software.
  • Microsoft continuously keeps the product up to date and has maintained a history of doing so. They use it internally for their own development so there is little chance it will ever fall out of favor and become unsupported.
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Cons
JetBrains
  • JetBrains, the company that created and maintains CLion, is located primarily in Russia. While that doesn't concern me it does create worries for some people.
  • No real cons. The product is great and the support is equally excellent.
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Microsoft
  • Certain settings and features can sometimes be challenging to locate. The interface isn't always intuitive.
  • Sometimes there are too many ways to do the same thing. For example, users can quickly add a new workspace in Source Control Explorer when a local path shows as "Not Mapped," but it doesn't indicate that the user might want to check the dropdown list of workspaces. The shortcut of creating a new workspace by clicking on the "Not Mapped" link can lead to developers creating too many workspaces and causing workspace management to become unwieldy. If the shortcut link were removed, the user would be forced to use the Workspace dropdown. While it can add an extra step to the process, workspaces would be managed more easily, and this would enforce consistency. At the very least, there should be a high-level administrative setting to hide the shortcut link.
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Likelihood to Renew
JetBrains
It has the features that I need for my coding
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Microsoft
VS is the best and is required for building Microsoft applications. The quality and usefulness of the product far out-weight the licensing costs associated with it.
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Usability
JetBrains
CLion does everything I ask it to do. For me, Unreal Engine 4 compatibility was essential and Epic Game and JetBrains delivered a solid alternative to spending a huge amount of money on the "standard" IDE for game development on Windows. The user interface is sharp and modern without all of the silly frills many software suites now employ. It integrates well with source control systems we use and also works well, as expected, with other JetBrains development tools and assistants.
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Microsoft
The thing I like the most is Visual Studio doesn't suffer from Microsoft's over eager marketing department who feel they need to redesign the UI (think Office and windows) which forces users to loose large amounts of productivity having to learn software that they had previously known.
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Support Rating
JetBrains
I am giving it a 9 out of 10 because I did not even need official support from the CLion team but rather, every time I came across a problem, I have been able to solve it within the community itself. This is so precious that you don't even need the help of the program's development/support team. There's a huge community of users that backs you up.
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Microsoft
Between online forums like StackOverflow, online documentation, MSDN forums, and the customer support options, I find it very easy to get support for Visual Studio IDE when I need it. If desired, one can also download the MSDN documentation about the IDE and have it readily available for any support needs.
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Alternatives Considered
JetBrains
First thing it has better UI. When it comes to usability CLion is the best
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Microsoft
I personally feel Visual Studio IDE has [a] better interface and [is more] user friendly than other IDEs. It has better code maintainability and intellisense. Its inbuilt team foundation server help coders to check on their code then and go. Better nugget package management, quality testing and gives features to extract TRX file as result of testing which includes all the summary of each test case.
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Return on Investment
JetBrains
  • CLion helped us to speed up our development.
  • Version control support reduced many problems like merge conflicts.
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Microsoft
  • We've had hundreds of hours saved by the rapid development that Visual Studio provides.
  • We've lost some time in the Xamarin updates. However, being cross platform, we ultimately saved tons of time not having to create separate apps for iOS and Android.
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