Sunday, August 12, 2007

What Comes First?


Although it's an older essay (November, 2004), The IDE Divide made for some good Sunday reading. Not only is the author, Oliver Steele, engaging but his visualizations are exceptional. I'd like to think of myself as a "language maven" - that is a person who puts the emphasis on language capabilities before tools - but I know that growing up in the Microsoft world as I did, I understand how big of a difference good tools can be.

One item I don't recall seeing in the essay was how tool mavens are responsible for their own obsolesence. It makes perfect sense to focus on language first and be flexible with tools - and to have a good text editor you can rely upon. I started using Textpad first with Java and nowadays I usually don't pass a day when I don't open something with it - either for quick inspection of a file or to write something in perl or python.

I know there are other good text editors out there but it seems like having good regex support and the ability to attach shell commands to keyboard shortcuts is most important. Syntax highlighting is a nicety too although as time passes it's not really as important to me.


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