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From Drew Sudell <>
Subject [OT] IDEs (was RE: Borland Jbuilder finally adds ant support (at a price))
Date Tue, 21 May 2002 14:12:35 GMT
Paul Cody writes:
 > Not trying to start a flamewar, but I cannot imagine _why_ people decide to
 > buy that [junk].  If I were to ever become the manager type, everyone in my
 > shop learns emacs or they hit the highway (or vi, provided they can keep
 > up).  The month or so of lost productivity would repay itself many times
 > over, and woororold would live in peace.  
 > Imagine no IDE's, I wonder if you can,
 > Paul

Personally, I think there's a lot of merit in simply using a good
editor well -- a task that can take years, given a sufficiently strong
notion of "good" and "well".  Or at stated in the Pragmatic Programmer 
quickly<> tip 22:
  Use a Single Editor Well

One of the draw backs of most IDEs I've used is the editors are at
best mediocre.

But, how managers come to buy expensive IDEs is actually pretty
simple. Everyone wants their staff to be more productive. Most
developers have no notion of how to build a decent development
environment.  IDEs wrap up fair to middling development environments
that chimps can use.  The vast array of technologies we work with
today is frankly intimidating to people on the outside (and a lot on
the inside). To some degree, the vendors have a vested interest in
making it seem complicated, as it creates and supports a market for
tools. If you last worked in PL/1, and saw the stream of J2SE, J2EE,
JSP, Servlet, EJB, JDBC, ... rolling by, it would scare the crap out
of you.  [Heck, I know how the stuff works, and the level of
obfuscation scares me at times.]  So a vendor touting a tool that
"makes development easy" and can list check marks for two or three
dozen buzzwords is going to sell some software. Much the same argument 
holds for app servers.

I worked in one organization, which no longer exists, where all the
developers were not only given an expensive IDE, but it was 
replaced with an upgraded enterprise edition of the same "because we
needed support for a new API".  That the version of the API it
"supported" was incompatible with the version implemented in our
expensive app server wasn't noticed until actual developers used the
software (and the check had cleared).  All told, between the app
server licenses and the two IDE licenses per developer, tens of
thousands of dollars were wasted.

Our job, as professionals, is to de-mystify these environments, so
people don't make such silly mistakes.  Sometimes that's not an easy
job. Introducing good simple tools, like Ant, is often part of how we
do that job.

Sorry for the editorial, but you hit a nerve.

        Drew Sudell

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