DEV Community

loading...

Is autocomplete really bad for beginners?

Saurabh Sharma
Web development React.js GraphQL Typescript JavaScript Design SEO
・1 min read

when I was learning to code, a lot of books and tutorials suggested disabling autocomplete feature saying that it will enforce you to learn the language instead of relying on the editor.

I always find autocomplete a good thing.

  • they reduce syntax errors,
  • tell you about what methods are available,
  • show you expected datatype of args.

what I think of learning to code is about "building stuff" not mugging up the language syntax. what do you guys think about it?

Discussion (4)

Collapse
hugodessomme profile image
Hugo Dessomme

I don't have any problem with the autocompletion feature.

However, I think being only able to work thanks to some tools / features can be a potential problem depending on your working environment context.

For example, let's assume you have an interview for a technical mission, and a part of your test consist of coding stuff. In such condition, the company could give you a machine without all things you are used to (as the autocompletion feature). If you only have been used to your "comfort environment", you could get stressed, lose some time and fail your interview.

Another "true story" example: last week, a developer needed some help for Git commands. Another one came to him, but they were not able to find their answers quickly because one wasn't using Git from terminal, but from its IDE. So he only knew how to do it with a visual interface, but not without its tool.

My point isn't that helpers are a bad thing, they are helpful actually :)

But I believe that being able to adapt yourself to any working environment by having some solid basic knowledges on how things work will help you even more.

Collapse
dmerand profile image
Donald Merand

I second this. Use the completions, and on a day when you're feeling expansive, figure out how not to use them.

I think of things like auto completion as scaffolding, not crutches. You put them up when you need them, and leave them up as long as they're necessary.

Collapse
quii profile image
Chris James

I would say those books are wrong.

That's not to say building an encyclopedic knowledge of APIs is not a good thing, but it's certainly not the most important.

Besides, what's wrong with relying on an editor? It's not going to get snatched away from you!