Re: Great SWT Program

Lew <>
Tue, 16 Oct 2007 08:50:09 -0400
<> wrote:

Then again, programming with an IDE rather obscures the
fact that source code is plain text, converted to object code and
then an executable with a compiler. But the department where
I teach seems to focus more than some do on having students
understand what's happening at a fairly low level. Whether in
the long run that's better or worse than focusing solely, or
almost solely, on something higher-level .... I don't know.

IDEs are not meant to substitute for text mode, which I'll call "command-line
mode". They can obscure knowledge, just like use of Struts can obscure
knowledge of the Model-View-Controller paradigm, or use of can obscure
knowledge of low-level file I/O. They are meant to /supplement/ command-line
mode, and make certain tasks (not all tasks) more efficient for the programmer.

The nightly build-and-test cycle should not rely on an IDE, but occur via Ant,
a good version-control system and command-line tools like javac. IDEs
introduce dependencies on specific workstations, which is why you can't always
transfer entire workspaces between computers. (That one should never do
anyway - use the version control to do that.) They also introduce
dependencies on their internal build tools, which is why it takes some work to
build a project via Ant once you've locked yourself into the IDE's way of
doing things.

If your build cycle doesn't depend on any one IDE, then your team needn't
either. Practitioners can use, or even switch between, their vims and their
Eclipses, or their emaxen and their NetBeansies, or their JEdits and their
JBuilders, or whatever.


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