Integrated Development Environments for Objective C

From GNUstepWiki


Tools from the GNUstep project

There is an official IDE from the GNUstep project, which is ProjectCenter. It is actively maintained and developed. For its up- and downsides you may consult the ProjectCenter FAQ.

Independent of the IDE you may want to use you probably want to rely on Gorm or Renaissance for developing graphical user interfaces. For more information on Gorm and ProjectCenter also see Development tools.

Besides ProjectCenter there are some more IDEs, that run under Free Software environments and offer support for developing with Objective C.

The IDEs below usually rely on clang. So you benefit most from using them if you develop your applications using clang and the new (ng) GNUstep runtime (ObjC2_FAQ | Building GNUstep under Debian FreeBSD).

Free Software or Open Source


KDevelop is the official IDE from the KDE project based on Qt and the KDE libraries. Besides many other languages it supports Objective C. It supports projects that are built upon GNUmakefiles and thus should support GNUstep projects quite well. It is GPL 2 licensed and easily available via the package managers of most distributions and operating systems.

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a relatively small electron (JavaScript) app, shipped as Open Source Software from Microsoft. Besides many other languages it supports Objective C very well. It is MIT licensed and you are expected to obtain it from Microsoft.


JetBrains CLion

JetBrains CLion is a proprietary, full featured IDE for C and C++ (the framework is well known to Java developers), but also supporting Objective C.


You are not able to install Xcode using a Free Software environment. But of course it is possible to use Apple's Xcode to develop apps that are based on Foundation and AppKit. Xcode won't create a proper makefile for you. You will have to do that yourself or let ProjectCenter do the work for you. But if you use Xcode's interface builder (formerly "Interface Builder") to create graphical user interfaces utilizing XIB files instead of storyboards, GNUstep will be able to load and execute these XIB files as well.