A salute to IDEs.

Not that this will mean much to anyone but coders, but it was a startling revelation to me. After mainly doing code development in Java using the eclipse IDE (Integrated development environment, for the non-coders) for a couple of years, I’ve become pretty “soft” as a programmer.. When your IDE prompts you for function names, does imports and stuff, you can code pretty quickly, and the quality of your code is going to be relatively high. After all, you can focus on the algorithms and not worry about leaving silly typos in your code. (Bugs yes, typos not so much.)

However, since this weekend, I’ve been hacking around with data visualization using javascript/HTML5 – which, as far as I know, doesn’t have a Linux IDE for development. Hence, I’m writing code in the nano editor. (If you used email in the early nineties, nano looks just like the pine email client.) Unlike my “cushy” java IDE where function names come up automatically, working in nano means I need to memorize the name of every function I want to use.

Even worse, nano doesn’t display the code with proper formatting – it just assumes the whole thing is html and thus messes around with colours (making everything a dark, unreadable blue) every time I use a less-than (“<") symbol. Anyhow, even with the total lack of a decent IDE, I've still managed to write a couple hundred lines of code and have some neat but pre-mature animations. But... Unfortunately, I'm spending equal amounts of time looking up functions, testing code, and trying to debug typos. Coding this way is just like developing in pascal in 1992, except back then I had only a help file with no search function, whereas google is now my best friend. At any rate, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the people who write IDEs. Like human rights and basic freedoms, you never appreciate your tools fully until you have to live without them.

4 thoughts on “A salute to IDEs.

  1. You can do javascript and html in eclipse, it won’t be as nice as java development, but you will have better formatting and display

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