Wednesday, January 03, 2007

IDE vs Editors

In this article I will try to obsolete any believes that standard text editors or even the more advanced ones are not only bad but evil!

First you might want to look just at the above pictures.
What you will prefer to write on?
Maybe in bed I will want the Book 'cause it is better than a personal computer but is it really faster than it? What if I make a mistake? I'll have to rewrite it... on the PC I will do undo or just retype it. Hmmm clever isn't it?!?!

Well the same basics are there for IDE vs Text Editors.

I will give a real example again. Consider the following situation at work.
You have a server where you host the project a boss tells you to "LOGIN" to it and make some changes... ok there are some great editors like JEdit which have many plug-ins and can have a build in client or what so ever... so OK. Then you need to, let's say find the bug in the design. What a horrible task. Yes you will need to look at all the spicy code in there an fix some unclosed tag. Then you need to add some functionality and can't remember the PHP function name for striping some characters... oh my!

I think you already got the picture!
You are faced in the worst case scenario with lack of highlighting, tag completion, ftp client ... and so on.

With an IDE(Integrated Development Environment) you got all this if not more.
Even in the best case scenario the TEXT EDITOR will lack one of your needs like say SVN client. But with an IDE you got it all there build in or with plug-ins that just work with the environment.

My boss told me that using an IDE leads to some BAD habits like not remembering all the function names or like using a function that you don't actually know what it does. But that ain't true.
IDE is giving you all the details and corrects your silly mistakes... and all the experience you will gain just by writing and looking at the code is enough to make sure you know what you are doing. An IDE is the Swiss knife of a modern DEVELOPER.

There are some good choices like Eclipse and ZDE (Zend inc) for PHP for example.
And there are plenty more... for other languages too... both free and paid.

But what I really wanted to say is that using a text editor leads to bad habits like writing text instead of code. This is not right to do and shall not be tolerated within the mind of developer.
A real developer should know what he's doing and just use the tools to be more productive, not waste time on silly mistakes or facing trouble with some software or hardware issues that ain't he's work.

So what you say ?
I will appreciate if you drop some comments so I know I provoked your mind to think about the topic... or just that you support me ;-)

So have fun with your code instead of hating it!


Anonymous said...

I really stand up by the usage of IDEs. My oppinion is that if your program is bigger than 1 file script - you should use an IDE.

Rashid said...

"A real developer should know what he's doing and just use the tools to be more productive" - that's the main idea of the IDEs. This comparison between text editor and IDE is like framework and raw code. I support using IDEs.

Anonymous said...

Gee, what a load of bullshit. I have nothing against IDEs - they can in fact be quite nice. What I'm questioning is your gripe with text editors as programming tools.

I swear by the power of Emacs! Why? It simply has better and more convinient TEXT-EDITING features (and killer ways for easily switching buffers), it's free (msvc, cough cough), keyboard-centric, customizable, doesn't require a $20,000 computer to run smoothly (eclipse with the c++ plugin, cough cough) and can be complemented with auto completion and whatever you can think of, quite easily.

C-x 3 followed by a M-x shell is the most powerful tool ever (that is, splitting the screen into two buffers and launch a shell inside one of them)!

It's got a gdb mode for interactive debugging, a svn-client if you somehow can handle the command line client, tags for find function declarations/definitions (and more importantly it has a usable search tool, pretty much obsoleting the need for auto-completion and "pop up" documentation).

It may not be any better than your typical IDE, but it sure isn't any worse either! Get a grip!

Anonymous said...

Eclipse is the worst IDE ever - it's so slow and bloated - doing minor php changes in it is just ridiculous.

Scite on the other hand gives you syntax coloring / highlighting, and much of the other 'IDE' type functionality while remaining a lightweight FAST editor.

You CAN have the best of both worlds ;}

John Russell said...

This article is phenomenally obnoxious. I'm not even going to tell you if I use an editor or an IDE because it doesn't matter a witches tit. A good developer is comfortable with his/her/its tools and knows them inside and out. He/she/it doesn't try to push his workflow on others and let's the output (the program behavior) speak for itself.

I used to try to push my tools on other people because in my opinion they were, by definition, the best way I found to do the job. But people think so differently that there is no one solution.

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