2 thoughts on “Software Development and Focus

  1. One of the main points of GTD (Getting Things Done) is: “Use a system you trust”. So you can use your energie to do the thinks and not to don’t forget.

    In my opinion there is so much more in software development to consider than remember the correct syntax, the code organization and so on. So a really good IDE is the system I will trust.

    Ok there are exceptions from this rule. If I want to learn a new language or practice I will use no IDE in the beginning.

  2. What do developers want?
    As Steve Yegge once said: “Tools, tools, tools”
    ….to automate stuff to get things done in a “better” way.

    To me tools always have a context in which to use them.

    So what is a reasonable context of using an IDE vs. emacs vs. vim?
    I dont think that whatever context, the IDE always wins.

    Sometimes I only want to look quickly at one line of code or change something small.
    ……With an editor as the tool of choice I can do that without waiting for eclipse to have initialized after some minutes.

    Navigating a giant code base that I do not know anything about, ……sure IDEs are your friend.
    Debugging legacy Java coding
    ….. without eclipse or some IDE hmm difficult I think.

    But after a while I have found the component in the giant code base that needs some changing due to some bug that I was debugging with the IDE. The component is small. Some classes with nice unit tests.
    ……I switch over to an old fashioned editor which feels responsive and does not stall like eclipse sometimes does suspending work for a couple of seconds or even minutes. I start working.

    I think context is key and it depends what you are working on primarily.

    I have seen people trying to stage fights IDEs vs. editors.

    Like the rails community I think has the tendency to be hands-on, so IDEs are frowned upon.
    Like the Java/C# community has the tendency to say “Small code base, editors, ahhhhh they do not work in the business world with lots of legacy code. Will this scale? We do it right. Use IDEs or you are lost.”
    When I listened to these kind of discussions I had the feeling that it was more about the definition to which group you belong rails people or java people than a question of tool usage.

    In the end it is the judgement of the craftsman which tool to use.

    PS: With refactorings I think IDEs should be superior tools, so my question to the rails people: “Can you tell me how to do refactoring in textmate?” I am not a rails person: Que sais-je?

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