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Discussion on: Turning off the syntax highlighter

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Károly Balogh

I worked a long time on various (exotic) platforms without effective or any syntax highlighting. I think it certainly makes you a better developer, in the sense of reading the code without aids, and taking assumptions of the editor (or any tool) you're using as granted. I could compare it to watching the movie vs. reading the book. You have to put in more effort, but it feels you just somehow get to a deeper understanding of the code.

Also, strictly speaking, your screenshot is not syntax highlighting off, it's just limited syntax highlighting. In most my cases, not even comments or language keywords were colored differently. ;)

I think every developer should try coding with highlighting off, if for nothing else then for an adventure and to stretch their limits. And it's good practice to reduce your dependency on your tools, just as good practice to keep your code's dependency to the minimum, if it's possible with reasonable effort. Otherwise it's just a matter of taste. At this point I can certainly switch back to not using syntax highlighting at all with a few hours of adjustment. But SOME syntax highlighting, just makes me more productive, I learned. And when you have work to do, that matters a lot.