Seeking old post on developers who like IDEs vs developers who like simple languages

Ulrich Eckhardt eckhardt at
Mon May 18 03:31:33 EDT 2009

Steve Ferg wrote:
> On the one hand, there are developers who love big IDEs with lots of
> features (code generation, error checking, etc.), and rely on them to
> provide the high level of support needed to be reasonably productive
> in heavy-weight languages (e.g. Java).
> On the other hand there are developers who much prefer to keep things
> light-weight and simple.  They like clean high-level languages (e.g.
> Python) which are compact enough that you can keep the whole language
> in your head, and require only a good text editor to be used
> effectively.

This distinction is IMHO not correct. If you took a look at Java, you would
notice that the core language syntax is much simpler than Python's. OTOH,
if you add the standard libraries, you would soon see that Python's
libraries are not as consistent (i.e. conformant to PEP8) as Java's.

What makes up for Python's perceived usability problems though is the
commandline parser that allows you to inspect the type of an object and its
parts of it at runtime, in particular the docstrings are a treasure there.

That said, an IDE that provides auto-completion (e.g. that gives you a list
of available class members) is a good thing in Java, because you don't have
to browse the documentation as often. With Python, that is impossible
because there are no types bound to parameters, so any type that fits is
allowed (duck typing).


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