What do Visual Studio, Eclipse, Netbeans, Notepad, Notepad ++, and vi/emacs all have in common? They are all used for creating programs. What are their differences? Aside from the compiler that they use to build the code into object code (and executable code), the difference is that the first three in the list have the compiler/linker integrated in them, while the last four require you to compile the code separately (technically you may be able to compile the code from inside Notepad ++, but it doesn’t come with a compiler).
So, should you use an IDE or not? And which one should you use, if you choose to? These are the questions I’ll answer in this post.
IDE’s.. Easy or Lazy?
Purists may claim that you don’t need the IDE, and that it makes you lazy because it does some of the work for you. However, the opposite can be said (that it makes you more productive for those same reasons). The answer may depend on the programming language.
If you look at a Java program that was created in an IDE compared to one that was created in Notepad or Notepad ++, you’ll find that they are virtually identical. The main diference would be that some code may have //Automatically Generated next to it. But, it’s all code that you would have put in yourself in Notepad++.
However, if you look at a Visual Basic program in notepad, there is a lot of extra code that you’re not aware of. It’s the background code for creating the forms and making the application compile. But it’s also code that you wouldn’t normally think to type in. So, as you can see it depends on the programming language, as to whether it helps you or makes you “lazy”.
Which IDE Should You Use?
The simple answer is the right one for the language that you’re coding in. Although it’s a little more complex than that. If you’re a Visual Basic or other “Visual” (Microsoft) programmer, then you’ll essentially be limited to Visual Studio. You may be able to program some of the languages in Eclipse, but Visual Studio is the best suite for the job. The main problem is that you either have to pay for VIsual Studio (unless you’re a student, in which case you can get it through dreamspark.net) or you have to use the functionally limited “Express Editions” (which can’t be used for commercial purposes).
Now, if you program in most other languages, you can use Eclipse along with their plugins for the specific language. If you’re programming in Java, you can use Netbeans (which is developed for Java) or Eclipse. Some of the other languages (such as Pascal or Delphi) also have their own IDE that you can use. Pascal is an older language, which has been replaced by Delphi (and you’ll have to pay for the Delphi System).
Personally, I prefer the IDE systems myself. They simplify a lot of the background tasks and make sure that the backbone of the code is correct. Which leaves me with more time to add the rest of the code, and get the application up and running sooner. What are your opinions on IDE’s?
Have a great day:)