Saturday, February 03, 2007

IDE Distrust

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Some time back I read Charles Petzold's essay Does Visual Studio Rot the Mind which concerned itself with some of the negative aspects of how our tools drive us rather than us driving our tools. It's not just a handful of occasions where I've been called over to "troubleshoot" when a person's intellisense (or autocompletion) isn't popping up what they are expecting.

But Visual Studio does impress upon you the wrong ideas sometimes.



In this case it will show an error for a missing mime type on a script tag. Granted, this may be some part of XHTML validation but after listening to Douglas Crockford (and also, incidentally, running into it in the Rhino book), I discovered this type attribute isn't leveraged by any existing browsers.



If you give in for the sake of XHTML and supply this attribute, you'll notice that Visual Studio suggests text/javascript which is actually incorrect. It should be application/javascript.



Here is something even more concerning - Visual Studio is suggesting two parameters for a method that actually only requires one (I looked in the Rhino book).

Visual Studio is a great tool, don't get me wrong - as much as I'd love to be an Emacs junkie and do my demonstrations in it while showing off my profficiency, I like how effecient Visual Studio is at allowing me to focus on my code - not my libraries, or my classpath, or anything else.

With that said, it's important to master the tool, as opposed to being mastered by the tool. A healthy amount of distrust seems necessary to get the best out of it.

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1 comment:

BrendoMan said...

Very true, I've run into things like that already. But intellisense really comes in handy when you're writing a program without any books or notes for an exam :)