CodeWarrior is an integrated development environment (IDE) published by NXP Semiconductors for editing, compiling, and debugging software for several microcontrollers and microprocessors (Freescale ColdFire, ColdFire+, Kinetis, Qorivva, PX, Freescale RS08, Freescale S08, and S12Z) and digital signal controllers (DSC MC56F80X and MC5680XX) used in embedded systems.

The system was developed by Metrowerks on the Macintosh, and was among the first development systems on that platform to cleanly support both the existing the Motorola 68k and the new PowerPC (PPC). During Apple's transition to the PPC, CodeWarrior quickly became the de facto standard development system for the Mac, rapidly displacing Symantec's THINK C and Apple's own Macintosh Programmer's Workshop. The purchase of NeXT in 1996 led to a decline in CodeWarrior's relevance as Mac programming moved to the NeXT platform's own developer tools.

Metrowerks responded by porting CodeWarrior to Microsoft Windows and introducing compilers for a wider variety of platforms. It became a major part of the software stack for Motorola's varied lines of microcontrollers, and eventually led to them purchasing Metrowerks in 1999. It was widely used on most platforms based on PPC or other Motorola processors, as well as many games consoles. The product moved to Freescale Semiconductor when that company formed in 2004, and then to NXP when they purchased Freescale in 2015.

Originally a single integrated product, now known as the "Classic IDE", the IDE was later replaced with Eclipse IDE. The current versions are 6.3 of the Classic IDE,[1] and 11.0 for the Eclipse IDE.[2] Languages supported are C, C++, and assembly language.

Old versions

Prior to the acquisition of the product by Freescale, versions existed targeting Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Solaris, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo DS, Wii,[3] Sega Dreamcast, SuperH, M·CORE, Palm OS, Symbian OS, and BeOS.

Metrowerks versions of CodeWarrior also included Pascal, Object Pascal, Objective-C, and Java compilers.

Retrocomputing enthusiasts still use older versions of CodeWarrior to develop on the classic Mac OS. Classilla is built with Metrowerks CodeWarrior 7.1.[4]

Release NameEditionsRelease DateNotes[5]
CodeWarrior DR/1Gold, Silver, Bronze1993-12-23Bronze supports 68k, Silver supports PPC, Gold supports 68k and PPC
CodeWarrior DR/2Gold, Silver, Bronze1994-03-11
CodeWarrior DR/3Gold, Silver, Bronze1994-05-05
CodeWarrior 4Gold, Silver, Bronze1994-06-26
CodeWarrior 5Gold, Bronze1994-12-15
CodeWarrior 6Gold, Bronze1995-05-03
CodeWarrior 7Gold, Bronze1995-09-05
CodeWarrior 8Gold, Bronze1996-01-04
CodeWarrior 9Gold1996-05-11
CodeWarrior 10Gold1996-09-09
CodeWarrior 11Gold1996-12-31
CodeWarrior Pro 11997-06-04Mac and Windows bundled
CodeWarrior Pro 21997-10-23
CodeWarrior Pro 31998-04-07
CodeWarrior Pro 41998-09-10Last to run on 68040, last to include Pascal
CodeWarrior Pro 5Mac, Windows1999-06-18
CodeWarrior Pro 6Mac, Windows2000-09-09Last to support 68k compiling
CodeWarrior Pro 7Mac, Windows2001First to run natively in Mac OS X
CodeWarrior Pro 8Mac, Windows2002Last to run on Classic Mac OS
CodeWarrior 9Mac2003
CodeWarrior 10Windows2004


CodeWarrior was originally developed by Metrowerks based on a C compiler and environment for the Motorola 68K, developed by Andreas Hommel and licensed to Metrowerks. The first versions of CodeWarrior targeted the PowerPC Macintosh, with much of the development done by a group from the original THINK C team. Much like THINK C, which was known for its fast compile times, CodeWarrior was faster than Macintosh Programmer's Workshop (MPW), the development tools written by Apple.

CodeWarrior was a key factor in the success of Apple's transition of its machine architecture from 68K processors to PowerPC because it provided a complete, solid PowerPC compiler when the competition (Apple's MPW tools and Symantec C++) was mostly incomplete. Metrowerks also made it easy to generate fat binaries, which included both 68K and PowerPC code.

After Metrowerks was acquired by Motorola in 1999, the company concentrated on embedded applications, devoting a smaller fraction of their efforts to compilers for desktop computers. On 29 July 2005, they announced that CodeWarrior for Mac would be discontinued after the next release, CodeWarrior Pro 10. Although Metrowerks did not detail their reasons, the demand for CodeWarrior had presumably fallen during the time Apple began distributing Xcode (its own software development kit for OS X) for free. In addition, Apple's switch to Intel chips left Metrowerks without an obvious product as they had sold their Intel compiler technology to Nokia earlier in 2005.

During its heyday, the product was known for its rapid release cycle, with multiple revisions every year, and for its quirky advertising campaign. Their "geekware" shirts were featured in the fashion pages of The New York Times.[6]

Origin of the name

During the 1990s, Apple Computer released a monthly series of developer CD-ROMs containing resources for programming the Macintosh. These CDs were, in the early days, whimsically titled using punning references to various movies but with a coding twist; for example, "The Hexorcist" (The Exorcist), "Lord of the Files" (Lord of the Flies), "Gorillas in the Disc" (Gorillas in the Mist), etc.[7]

One of these, volume 9, was titled "Code Warrior", referring to the movie Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. Later Apple dropped the whimsical titling in favor of a more sober "Developer CD series". Coincidentally the Metrowerks founder, Greg Galanos, an Australian, was also inspired by the movie and proposed the CodeWarrior name. Metrowerks subsequently used the name for their new developer product.

CodeWarrior CD packaging was very much in the tradition of the Apple developer CDs, featuring slogans such as "Blood, Sweat, and Code" and "Veni, Vidi, Codi" in prominent lettering. Competing products such as Symantec's THINK C were more conventionally marketed.


  1. "CodeWarrior for Microcontrollers (Classic IDE)".
  2. "CodeWarrior for Microcontrollers (Eclipse IDE)".
  3. Carless, Simon (2006-05-09). "CodeWarrior Named Official Toolset For Nintendo Wii". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  4. "Classilla: HowToBuild". Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  5. "CodeWarrior Version History". Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  6. "FRONTIERS OF MARKETING; Selling Geek Chic". The New York Times. 1995-02-12. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  7. Every, David K. (1999). "Apple Developer CD Codenames: Puns, fun, and satire". MacKiDo. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
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