Know Your IDE

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Revision as of 07:18, 10 August 2009 by Kabutz (Talk | contribs)
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In the days of Unix C programming, my choice of editor was vi. The power of vi was in its simplicity: by learning a few keystrokes and unix tools (grep, sort, find, etc.) we could manipulate code easily. My fellow students favored the more "user friendly" editors with mouse control. Whilst having a shorter learning curve, the power of these editors was also greatly reduced. The same applies to 10 finger touch typing. Investing a couple of hours of your life will make you far more productive for many years to come.

Modern IDEs offer many benefits: automatic refactoring, code layout, etc. Most of these features are available from the menus, but nothing beats the shortcut keystrokes. Every IDE is different, which makes it useful to learn one really well. After conference talks, I am frequently approached by programmers who enjoyed watching me craft the code so quickly using the key shortcuts. It does not matter which IDE you use, as long as you invest a bit of your time to learn it well. Memorize one new key shortcut per week and by the end of the year you will look like a pro.

During code reviews and when I want to make changes to lots of files, some basic unix tools are still invaluable. Besides knowing our IDE very well, we should also know grep, find, uniq, sort and vi.

by Heinz Kabutz

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3

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