Launched in 2001, Eclipse has become an extremely popular and rapidly evolving platform for tool integration. In just over two years, it has garnered the support of 62 sponsor companies and grown to encompass 450 development tool projects, with over 10,000 download requests per day.

On its own, Eclipse provides an IDE for anything, but nothing in particular. Its real value comes from plug-ins that “teach” it how to work with different forms of content. For instance, an Eclipse project called the JDT (Java Development Tools) provides plug-ins that allow Eclipse to serve as a platform for writing Java applications. Similarly, the CDT, a project launched in 2002, provides plug-ins that allow Eclipse to support C and C++ development.

The CDT plug-ins implement a C/C++ IDE, including an editor, a debugger, and various tools for building and navigating C/C++ projects. Like Eclipse itself, the CDT is based on an extensible architecture, allowing developers to integrate tools from independent software vendors. In this article, we provide an overview of the CDT, its components, and its architecture; we also explore future directions for the project.