The Great IDE Debate


Chad Dickerson's column in InfoWorld is about the great IDE debate got me thinking. I've never seriously used an IDE, unless you count Emacs. I'm generally someone who loves new tools and count myself as an early adopter. Still, I never saw the trade-off as worthwhile. I've often thought of it as a generational thing--younger programmers used IDEs--but I'm not sure that's really true.

Its certainly true, that whether or not you use an IDE depends a great deal on the language you use. I suspect that there are not nearly as many Perl or Python programmers who use an IDE. And I don't think that's just because they're less common. If Perl programmers wanted to use Eclipse, they'd build a plug-in to do it. I suspect it has more to do with the style of programming. Paul Grahams quote about Java being used to accrete large programs as a series of patches is germane here, I think.