C++ in Gitpod

Gitpod supports C++ right out of the box, but there are still ways to enhance your C++ experience within Gitpod.

Example Repositories

Here are a few C++ example projects that are already automated with Gitpod:

Repository Description Try it
Component Editor Component Editor Open in Gitpod
tinyraycaster old-school FPS in a weekend Open in Gitpod
HelloGitPod Example Gitpod C++ configuration with clang-tidy linter enabled Open in Gitpod


C++ Tools

All Gitpod workspaces come with the latest available clang, gcc, cmake, gdb, and other useful C++ tools pre-installed by default.

However, if you’re missing some additional tools, you can simply run brew install <tool_name> to install it in the current workspace or write your own .gitpod.Dockerfile to install it across all workspaces for your repository.

IDE Features

Clangd Language Server

Gitpod’s native C++ support is currently provided by Theia’s native C++ extension, which builds upon Clangd for out-of-the-box language server support on C++ source files.

More complex projects may need a build system capable of outputting a compile_commands.json file before Clangd can work fully. The extension can be pointed to a directory containing this file as part of a build configuration within Theia’s settings.json:

  "cpp.buildConfigurations": [
      "name": "Release",
      "directory": "/workspace/project/cmake/release/build"
      "name": "Debug",
      "directory": "/workspace/project/cmake/debug/build"


Since gdb is already pre-installed in Gitpod, you can already debug any C, C++, Go, etc. program directly from the Terminal with a single command.

However, you can also get the IDE’s Debugging features to work with your C++ program, using GDB as a backend.

To enable C++ debugging for your project, simply follow these steps:

  1. Open the Extensions panel (in the IDE’s left vertical menu bar)
  2. Use the Search feature to find the extension called ”Native Debug”, then click on Install, and select Install for this project
  3. Next, open the Debug panel (also in the IDE’s left vertical menu bar), and click on the Gear (⚙️) icon to open the launch.json configuration file
  4. Finally, configure debugging for your project by adding a GDB launch configuration. You can use auto-completion for assistance. In the end, your launch.json should look something like this:
  // Use IntelliSense to learn about possible attributes.
  // Hover to view descriptions of existing attributes.
  "version": "0.2.0",
  "configurations": [
          "type": "gdb",
          "request": "launch",
          "name": "Debug Firefox (GDB)",
          "target": "./obj-x86_64-pc-linux-gnu/dist/bin/firefox",
          "cwd": "${workspaceRoot}",
          "valuesFormatting": "parseText"

Note: This example GDB launch configuration points to a compiled Firefox browser binary. You’ll need to adjust it to point to your project’s own compiled binary.

With this, you should be able to set breakpoints in your C++ code directly from the code editor margin, then start a debugging session from the Debug panel. The IDE should then show you debug information, hopefully pause execution on your breakpoint, and allow you to step through the code.

If that doesn’t work, please feel free to ask for help in and we’ll be happy to help you make debugging work for your project.

Further Reading

Still Have Questions?

Please reach out. We’re happy to answer them.