Wednesday, May 31, 2006

IDE's Are For Wimps?!?

I do not believe that as a programmer one realizes how much the tools that he/she uses make life easier for him/her until those tools are no longer at their disposal. I seem to have hit this wall in the last couple of days at work. You see, it all goes like this. I was handed a project to finish up, the only problem is that we don’t have an IDE that supports development for this particular project, so I am pretty much using a text editor with syntax highlighting to write/modify the code, a build tool to compile it, and then deploying it to a full blown “test” server. What do I miss you may ask? Hot swapping code, a good debugger, the red squiggles that appear under errors in my regular IDE, this beautiful thing called code completion.

What is the point to my little rant? Well it is this, every programmer I know claims to be “hard core”, yet most everyone uses these very powerful IDE’s. I don’t think that anyone can really call themselves “hard core” until they have actually worked in an environment without all of their fancy tools. Do I advocate this as a regular thing? Absolutely not! In the “real world” it’s about producing high quality, solid, applications – quickly. IDE’s help with the speed with which a developer can write, and debug code. As nice as System.out.println() can be for small projects, when the deploy process takes 4-5 minutes, you have to be a little bit more thoughtful about what information you will need, and when you will need it, because inserting that next println isn’t as quick and easy as it was when you were in school.

Hopefully I will get this project wrapped up in a week or two. My boss today told me about how he coded in a text editor for four years after he graduated from the university. I am sure he learned a lot, as I am right now, but for project expediency, this just doesn’t feel like the best plan. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any free tools to speed things up.

Anyway – that’s the news. Work is fun and challenging.

Coming soon:
- News on the re-design
- New adventures in photography

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