[CLUG-chat] Intro into programming.

Jean Jordaan jean at upfrontsystems.co.za
Thu Aug 3 13:02:10 SAST 2006

'lo Cayle

>>This isn't strictly about the choice of language, but it is 
>>tangentially related.  I suggest *not* using an IDE; 
> I'm going to disagree completely and say this is bad advice.

Sorry, I have to jump in to back up Adrianna. I don't like IDEs either.

>  * A lot of coding involves mechanical, "brain-dead" repetition.

If you turn off your brain, this will remain opaque to you, and will always
be mystifying cruft. Python is very light on the boilerplate.

>  * Furthermore, the REALLY neat IDEs have even more time-saving features,
> like refactoring,code folding,syntax checks, and even rudimentary logic

Before this stuff helps you, you have to know exactly what they do and how
they change your code structure.

Python does syntax checks as well.

>  * It's MUCH easier to debug code from an IDE. If someone tells you that the
> only debugging tool you need is the print statement, 

There's a huge middle ground between full-on IDE and print statements. In
Python, 'import pdb; pdb.set_trace()' drops you into a debugger where you can
step, examine the call stack, set breakpoints etc. to your heart's content.

>  * Code completion. This is the NUMBER ONE reason to use an IDE.

I use Vim together with ctags. Autocompletion and jumping directly to where
any class or method comes from.

For interactively playing, I use IPython. Autocompletion on all Python objects
in memory.

> * Oh, and let's not forget syntax highlighting / smart indenting. Those are
> nice too.

As if programmers' text editors haven't had those for decades.

> So is Project management, integrated version control and so on and
> so on. That's why it's called an Integrated Development Environment.

Those are fine, but I have them all without missing an IDE.


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