re: Why Are Some Developers so Allergic to IDEs? VIEW POST


I think IDEs are often an overkill. If I'm building something small, I don't need a heavy IDE. If I'm building something larger, I prefer using the same tools I do for smaller ones because I have learned them.

I also like an Unix-like philosophy of small tools that do one thing well and then I get to combine my toolchain from different tools based on my preferences. And I prefer to run my apps, commands, tests, etc from the command line because they then integrate nicely with other command line tools.

Sure, both my Vim and VS Code are heavily customized and extended with extensions and plugins. But that's the way I love it: I'll only have things I need and piece by piece I can make it better. Instead of having a large thing that does everything but makes small things sometimes hard.


Another reason that came to mind from reading other people's replies: I do programming in many languages. I do Typescript, Javascript, PHP, Python, Ruby, Bash, and occasionally something else as well. Most of the IDEs are designed for a single or couple of languages and just don't feel good with other ones.


I use IntelliJ Idea Ultimate and I do all the listed languages in this IDE. So this seems to be a fallacy, or it’s just a unique IDE that beats all others, I’m not sure, I didn’t use other IDEs. Platforms/languages that I use in a single IDE with the same shortcuts and behaviors:

Java/Kotlin for Backend/Android;
Javascript/ES6/Typescript for Backend/Frontend;
Python and Ruby for Scripting/Backend;
Objective-C/Swift for MacOS/iOS;
Golang for CLI/high-performance-backend;
PHP for backend or plugin dev.

I used to try Eclipse and PyCharm back in the day and even though I could build Python things in Eclipse, it felt like it was built for writing Java and vice versa. Sure, I have not used IntelliJ Idea Ultimate so maybe my experience is just outdated.

Does the IntelliJ Idea Ultimate have functionality for build tools, running tests, etc that are equally good for all languages or does it feel bit biased to one direction?

Yes, it generally does. I can switch seamlessly between different languages and run my build/test with the same shortcuts. Main refactorings are present in most of the languages. As well as auto-imports.

Of course, Java/Kotlin has top-notch support. Then Ruby/Python/Php has 2nd-place support because they are dynamic. Then you have all the other languages with medium-level support: Golang, Swift, etc.

Basically, Ultimate edition contains all the other JetBrains product inside of it in a form of a plugin you can install. Used PyCharm/RubyMine/PhpStorm/WebStorm/Goland/etc?—that’s a Python/Ruby/Php/Javascript-Typescript/Golang/etc plugin in Ultimate.


Of course, if you need something simple, a text editor would do. I use Atom for these things nowadays all the time.

While I love the UNIX philosophy I also know that most IDEs are plugin-based where you can disable 90% of the monster and leave only 10% of what you need, and then add few plugins on top of that. You could say that IDE has its own little “UNIX” inside of it.

The difference between a plugin-based text editor and IDE is that one is based on text and the other one is based on the code Abstract Syntax Tree. Refactorings in the latter are much faster and robust. Which is what I value personally a lot, as I do them every 2-5 minutes as part of the TDD cycle.

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