Editor Ergonomics [was: Important features for editors]

Chris Angelico rosuav at gmail.com
Fri Jul 12 04:50:36 CEST 2013


On Fri, Jul 12, 2013 at 12:39 PM, Steven D'Aprano
<steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info> wrote:
> Big deal. I am utterly unconvinced that raw typing speed is even close to
> a bottleneck when programming. Data entry and transcribing from (say)
> dictated text, yes. Coding, not unless you are a one-fingered hunt-and-
> peek typist. The bottleneck is not typing speed but thinking speed:
> thinking about program design and APIs, thinking about data structures
> and algorithms, debugging, etc.
>
> Programming is normally done in spurts of typing followed by longer
> periods of thinking, testing, debugging.

That's true, but it's still important to be able to type quickly. You
spend a minute or two figuring what you need to be doing, then want to
see the result as quickly as possible. The plan is in your brain; you
need to transfer it into code, save it, compile it if you need to,
deploy it to your test-box if you need to, trigger its execution, and
see its output. That's a roughly linear process, so any time saved in
any step is an overall saving, and the shorter the total time from
brain to output, the more smoothly your debugging/tinkering will be.
That's why I've spent time developing systems at work that reduce the
times required. With a single keystroke (F7 in SciTE), I can save,
compile (for the one or two components that actually get compiled),
and deploy to test-box, and a quick SIGHUP via Upstart does the rest.
I can try two or three iterations of something without "losing" what
my brain's holding onto - more if it's a trivial edit. Poor typing
speed, or replacing the F7 whack with a button click that demands a
mouse, would damage that.

ChrisA



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