driver writing != bus driving

Ilias Tsigkogiannis' Introduction to Windows Device Drivers and Windows Audio Concepts

Poll: Which IDEs are being used by driver developers?

Poll: Which IDEs are being used by driver developers?

  • Comments 24

I would like to use this post as a way to find out, what different IDEs are being used for driver development. It would be nice, if you could write your favorite IDE(s) and a small explanation (and possibly a link) about their strengths and weaknesses. It doesn't matter, which company created the IDE, since this could be a nice opportunity for many people to learn what options are available.

Personally, I've tried Visual Studio (, however I consider it too heavy. One advantage, though, is that it can be combined with DDKBUILD (, in order to provide seamless interaction with the WDK compiler. You can look at for additional information. Hopefully, in the future, Visual Studio might also support WDK help integration. Currently, I'm using Source Insight (, which is much lighter. I like the fact that it has symbol windows for each file, syntax formatting and many other useful options, such as smart rename of variables (e.g. if I choose to rename a variable called buffer to Buffer that is used inside a function Foo, it won't rename a variable called Stringbuffer and it won't rename any other variable called buffer that is outside of Foo).

So, which IDE(s) are you using? 

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  • SlickEdit -

    Besides many other great features it allows to integrate host system driver/app development and e.g. firmware cross-development of the target in one workspace.

    It's simply the best (I know).


  • Visual Studio + Visual Assist (

  • VS2005.. I do a lot of usermode development too.  Right now mostly filesystem work, but I've been using VS for so many years its a pain to change.  Of course I use windbg for all my debugging, even usermode.  I am going to try out Source Insight.  Looks rather "busy" from the screenshots though.

  • I use pspad ( with cmd.exe window open to run the makefile. Simple and fast.

  • I use emacs with etags, cscope

  • Visual SlickEdit.  Originally a CodeWright user, but Borland tanked that.

  • I use Visual Studio with Mark Roddy's DDKbuild script ( to integrate with the DDK environment.

    I also still do a lot of work with just the build CMD windows, since things like PC-Lint and SDV are not integrated with DDKbuild.

  • I use SlickEdit as well.  It's got to be one of the best editors out there, and it's easily configured to launch ddkbuild.  It's tags support is one of the best available.

  • In past projects, VS + Visual Assist. In current projects - Source Insight

  • I use vim with exuberant ctags.

  • VS2005 + VisualAssist

    All my development goes on in that environment...

  • Currently, for Windows development I use C++Builder 6, although sometimes I work with Visual C++ (6.0 & 2005).

  • VS2005 + OSR DDKBUILD + Visual Assist X

    Installing the December 2006 MSDN Library from DVD *almost* fully integrates WDK help ... select-text-and-hit-F1 on a WDK type/DDI name brings up the "Information Not Found" page (doh!) but the Index list has the correct entry selected (woohoo!)

  • gvim + cmd.exe

    I usually have several Gvim editor windows open along with 1-3 command windows open to build / grep / etc. (So maybe I'm using the OS as the IDE?)

    I use Gvim because:

    + I learned it well when I was coding in Windows / Linux / Solaris all at the same time and wanted one universal editor

    + It's very lightweight

    + It's very configurable

    + Once you learn the intuitive (lol) keyboard commands, they actually are pretty quick to use.

    (sometimes I also use Understand for code analysis, graphical call charts, etc. )

    Gvim @

    Understand @

  • I've been a Source Insight user for the last 6 years or so. I've tried SlickEdit, but it just never grabbed me.

    Light-weight + stable + speedy + darn pretty = happy developer

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