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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

vi Editor days vs. Fancy IDE era - How dependent are we on IDEs?

vi Editor - Do we still remember this? I actually still have xvi.exe (from GNU tools) installed on my computer so I can remind myself about it.

I remember the days when I used to write C++ code on Unix using vi editor. I first started in the version that just had black and white and then I switched to a fancy version that was able to understand C++ syntax and put specific areas of code in different colors. Those were as we like to say the good old days. The debugging was also very tough. I had to use some other command-line tools to detect which part of the code was causing the null exception. The same code would behave differently on AIX version of Unix vs. HP and Solaris. That's when I learned the value of writing code to do useful logging and statistics to simplify my day to day debugging exercise and to also have eyes into the production environment when my code starts running there.

These days we have so many choices of good editors and IDEs (Integrated Development Environments).

Let's start with Notepad++. It is a very simple editor but also somewhat powerful for certain uses. I like to use it for my Python code and for writing scripts. The editor recognizes the syntax of many different languages and it even has some debugging capabilities. For example, it is capable of debugging the Python code.

There are plenty of other editors and IDEs. 

If you work in a Microsoft shop, you have to admit that Microsoft revolutionized the world of IDEs with their version of Visual Studio for .NET. That's when we entered the era where a lot of things were simplified and we started to slowly get attached to the features of this IDE.

Now the question is: Is being so dependent on IDEs such a bad thing?

I don't think it is bad as long as you don't forget the basics. We sometimes tend to live in the world of debugging too much that we forget to write code to incorporate proper logging and statistics. Then when our code goes to the production environment, we feel the pain. What I mean by this is that you would not have the tools or mechanisms to troubleshoot the environment and even worse, you will not know that your production environment is not healthy in the first place.

That's all I wanted to share at this time. Happy coding and continue using the fancy tools to make your development simpler, but don't forget about importance of logging and statistics in your code.



keywords: #programming #coding #code101 #code #csharp #cplusplus #notepad #vi #tech #nerd #editor #IDE #Microsoft #VisualStudio #.net 
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