[Tutor] Choice of tools

Mats Wichmann mats at wichmann.us
Thu May 10 09:48:31 EDT 2018

On 05/09/2018 03:10 AM, Brad M wrote:
> Hi all, I have a question about how to choose a proper IDE for C/C++
> I have been using visual studio ever since my C++ 101 days, but now I
> realized there is a problem: feature lock-in!
> As an aside, I can't get "Error squiggles" to show up in my .c project in
> visual studio 2017, where as in my .cpp project it promptly notifies me
> of anything it doesn't like, such as printffffff("Hello world! \n );
> Anyone know how to make it work for .c?

The "squiggles" are a feature Microsoft calls Intellisense, which works
in C++ and C# projects, and an unspecified set of "some features" on .c
files in a C++ project.  Apparently "some" doesn't include your beloved

> So I have been happily letting MS VS 2017 community do my thinking
> for me, so to speak, when it comes to error checking. Now I found out
> I can't do any work since there isn't that Error squiggles feature for me,
> I have to hunt down my next IDE!

that very much sounds like the argument against colored syntax
highlighting, for what it's worth: in addition to being distracting
(typographers have known for eons not to change colors midstream because
it disrupts concentration. IDE writers somehow know better?), it's a
case of "doing your thinking for you" - you end up focusing on syntax
errors and don't think about real bugs.  A simplified version of the
argument, but contained that same core concept. However... see comments
at end.

> Well, Notepad++ has this really cool "VIM dark blue" theme that is
> gorgeous! However, I am a lose for choosing my next editor/IDE...
> 1) is it ok to get used to a feature that only some products feature
> 2) is there anything else that has Error squiggles?
> 3) recommend a C/C++ editor?
> Thanks all...

1) of course. you do what works for you, and what makes you productive.
If you have to IDE on many different platforms, you may or may not be
willing to accept differences between them - that might color your
choice of IDE.

3) No. It's a terribly personal choice, and there are a disturbing
number of them.  Some integrate more bits than other, Visual Studio
being one of largest collections of bits, not always to its own benefit.

There should be plenty of commentary on the Internet, some of it
probably quite heated.  Dating back to the UNIX days, programmers on
UNIX/Linux/BSD systems have debated the merits of the editors vi and
emacs with akin to religious fervor, IDE systems are just a new
incarnation of those old editor wars.

Since you wrote to a Python group, there are some editors that do a
pretty good job of handling Python and also do well at C/C++ - PyCharm
has a relative called CLion; the Atom editor has lots of IDE-like
features and is constantly being extended by contributed code since it's
all open; SublimeText is popular (particularly on the Mac side); the
list goes on.  Oh, and VS Code supports Intellisense too, so that's
probably why it feels comfortable (I read your later reply to indicate
you had been using VS Code)

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