Loosely-coupled development environment (was: IDE Question)

Ben Finney bignose+hates-spam at benfinney.id.au
Wed Oct 15 22:47:36 CEST 2008

"Steve Phillips" <steve077 at gmail.com> writes:

> I am just wondering what seems to be the most popular IDE. The
> reason I ask is I am currently at war with myself when it comes to
> IDE's. It seems like every one I find and try out has something in
> it that others don't and viceversa.

This speaks to the twin facts that people want different things, and
that Python is flexible enough to accommodate these differing desires.

> I am in search for the perfect IDE

Perfect for whom, exactly? Perfect for what, exactly?

These are not facetious questions: they cut to the core of your quest.
I am convinced that your quest for a development environment that is
“integrated” (or “tightly-coupled”, in programming terminology) is
incompatible with any useful criterion of “perfect”.

Instead, I find the greater gain comes from a working environment of
*loosely-coupled* tools, with standard well-defined interfaces, that
one can flexibly mold and reconnect to meet whatever task is at hand.
The deeper this extends into the operating system, the more the system
as a whole will be able to support this flexibility, and the more
likely the tools will have been designed to do so.

Because of the inescapable central role in our craft of manipulating
text files, essential in this development environment is a
highly-customisable text editor with a broad *and* deep library of
existing customisations, to maximise the amount of work already done
for you when embarking on work in an area that is, to you, new.

It happens that the text editors which meet these criteria are limited
to Emacs and Vim, with a sharp decline in suitability (by these
criteria) beyond those two. Both have powerful user-customisable
capabilities and a mammoth availability of existing extensions for a
staggering variety of tasks. Learn one of these editors well,
familiarise yourself with how to access the rich library of available
extensions, and make the text editor the core of your loosely-coupled
development environment.

 \         “Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?” “I think so, |
  `\    Brain, but I find scratching just makes it worse.” —_Pinky and |
_o__)                                                       The Brain_ |
Ben Finney

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