Inside SWT

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Is that new IDE feature worthwhile?

I'm a simple guy and live by simple rules. One of them is: "That which obscures my code is bad". This rule isn't hard and fast, but generally turns out to be true.

For example, the red squiggles that show up under your code (sometimes called "the red sea") are good. They tell me I have compile errors and let me see my code at the same time. Automatic Javadoc or code assist (sometimes called "code desist") is bad. It can steal focus, misdirect keystrokes, obscure code, insert random text fragments, slow my typing and most of all, confuse and frighten me. It's a completely different story when I ask for it. Then I'm not afraid.

It's hilarious watching people give demos, fighting with their IDE as it inserts unwanted code fragments which they immediately delete. Fortunately, Eclipse allows you to configure everything so you get to choose whether you are being helped or hindered.

Steve

4 Comments:

  • Steve

    I enjoy your blog. Your post has inspired me to give Eclipse (and SWT) a try again. I'm really looking for an IDE that has a good (and customizable) workflow. It is only recently that I've come to realize the need to be able to turn off some of the extra stuff that IDEs do for us. Your post sums this up perfectly.

    If I could ask something about SWT, and unrelated to your post, that could help my attempt at transitioning... Is it possible to get a native window handle (in Windows) to a SWT shell, similar to the way one can in Swing with jawt, awt.GetDrawingSurface, etc., allowing an SWT shell to be embedded in a native app which uses JNI/InvocationAPI. Similarly, I noticed that the OSX port of SWT now utilizes HIView. Is it possible to get a handle to an HIView to embed in a native Carbon app? Do you know of where I could find more information on how to accomplish this? I greatly appreciate your insight and thank you for your work..

    PD

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:25 AM  

  • There is more to embedding one window in another than just getting the handle. Drop me an email at my hotmail account (steve_northover) and we can discuss it there.

    Steve

    By Blogger Steve, at 4:57 PM  

  • Heh, my pet peeve is over-zealous code completion. If I make it half-way through a suggestion then hit space, obviously I'm typing a different word than what was suggested. Perhaps my fingers just accidentally slipped and hit that big elongated key sitting between my thumbs by mistake.

    So, what does Visual Studio do by default? Oh, it assumes I was just being lazy and fills in the remaining bits all by itself, munging capitalization along the way. Smarty-pants. This is just one of the many things I have to turn off before I consider Visual Studio tolerable!

    Fortunately Eclipse has better default behavior, IMHO, but it's not perfect...

    By Blogger Jeff Brown, at 4:40 AM  

  • You can turn off the automatic code completion in Eclipse that attacks you while you type. That one is the worst.

    By Blogger Steve, at 12:14 PM  

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