Monday, April 21, 2008

Tools, NetBeans, and Eclipse

I've been pushing my Ruby on Rails programmer to use some kind of IDE instead of just an editor. I suggested NetBeans since I'd read some good things about it. He installed it, but so far I haven't convinced him to switch. I can sympathize, when you've got a comfortable routine it's a hassle to change. And productivity tends to take a dip at first while you're learning new tools. But in the end, better tools can make a big difference. Many of the new tools we've added to Suneido have become so useful that I'd be really annoyed to lose them. (Even though we went years without them, and without knowing what we were missing.)

Soon after, I found myself working on the Suneido C++ source code with ... just an editor. Hmmm. I decided maybe I should give NetBeans a try myself. I also figured I should see what progress there had been on the C++ tools (CDT) in Eclipse. Both NetBeans and Eclipse have had many improvements. I downloaded, installed, and tried both. My conclusions were similar to Eclipse 3.3 or NetBeans 6.0.

As much as I like the concepts of Eclipse, it's got some awkward aspects (like "workspaces"). With NetBeans I was able to get the Suneido code loaded with little trouble. I ended up giving up on Eclipse. I'm sure I could have figured it out in the end (I have in the past) but I wasn't in the mood to spend the time.

It's interesting that both these IDE's are written in Java and run on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Of course, in the end, I used up the time I had messing with IDE's and didn't make much progress on my code. Was this an excuse to goof off or was it an investment in better tools? Depends whether it pays off in the future I guess.

1 comment:

Larry Reid said...

Darn. You beat me to the punch. I've just started using NetBeans for Ruby on Rails. As someone who's programming experience is far enough in the past that vi and make a few terminal windows seems like heaven, I must say I've become addicted to IDEs in my recent small experiences. An IDE isn't necessary for RoR any more than a car is for transportation, but most people choose a car over horse or bike.