Cover image for Why, like Ariana, you should be grateful for your ex (IDE)

Why, like Ariana, you should be grateful for your ex (IDE)

sourishkrout profile image Sebastian Updated on ・3 min read

The internet is full of first-person advice: Why "I" moved from X to Y and "my" life is so much better now. iPhone to Android. Python to Java. Firefox to Chrome. Semicolons to blank line breaks. Emacs to Vim. The list goes on.

While more philosophical than factual, this sort of "advice" often overlooks the benefits of experiencing diverse options yourself that will inevitably expand your toolbox and make you wiser. Take it with a grain of salt.

Vim, emacs, nano

🧑‍🎤 What's your next IDE?

Let's take a look at (ex-) development environments. (Ex-) IDEs more specifically. Ariana Grande serenades how one taught her love, one taught her patience, and one taught her pain. That'd be Vim, Xcode, and Eclipse for myself - in Miss Grande's exact order.

VS Code is quickly catching up with my ❤️ vim-love. Which is how Marquee, an extension for VS Code came into existence.

Having spent two decades in software development leading teams and organizations, one thing is certain: one size fits all does not exist. Infra is different from algorithms is different from app development is just as different as people are. In fact, saying "thank you, next" regularly is encouraged - get to know what's out there! Also, no need to be shy to go back to your familiar options when the situation calls for it.

👻 One size fits all does not exist

If you just got started with development, don't let platitudes about "if you need auto-complete to write code YOU don't code" get in your way. I recently taught myself Typescript and my learning journey was greatly expedited by VS Code's first class support for it. However, while it built my comprehension, I would happily write Typescript in GNU's nano. Probably slowed-down by a factor of 2x because... NANO 😑.

More recently I helped build an extension for VS Code called Marquee. Hopefully one day Marquee will be available for all editors. We didn't start out with VS Code for pure love - no, we wanted to fill a real gap. VS Code is also the most exciting platform for developers; perhaps only second to the browser which is much less specifically designed for devs.

This is Marquee

Stay on top of your VS Code windows. Marquee is available from the VS Code Marketplace

Even though there is a lot of VS Code in my life today, you will still witness me vim-editing files on remote hosts or in VS Code's embedded terminal as much as firing up Xcode to inspect some iOS code. I won't write about how one saves more time or grief than the other.

🤓 Growth mindset means getting out of the comfort zone

The one advice you should take to heart is this: don't get too comfortable for too long. Try out new things and cherish what you already know. Depending on what matters to you in the situation - getting the project done, learning something new, jumping head first into the cold water - diversity of first-hand experiences will give you options, lead to better results, and be your saving grace.

Seriously, though, VS Code is fantastic. If you are on it already please give Marquee a spin. Feel free to drop feedback & questions below.

PS: I'm mostly joking about Nano. It's a simple and fine editor.

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Love software, products, people, strategic leadership


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It's entirely possible I missed the point of the comic and it went over my head. If that's the case, then sorry!

For anyone who reads this post and bristles at the panel comic about Vim vs. Emacs vs. Nano, I have been working professionally in tech for 20 years. Most of those years have been on Linux. I use nano everyday.

It's about working smarter, not harder. If you want to learn how to use the others and become a power user, then best of luck. For the rest of us, it shouldn't require you to learn anything, let alone a new workflow/key map, etc., to just edit a text file.


You're totally right, Jim. Just being a little tongue in cheek about nano, both the comic & the post. As said towards the end, I'm a bit believer in using a diverse set of tools, which also includes nano, instead of singling one out to be the best at everything.


No worries, I figured as much. Just wanted to assure anyone who may felt the same way about the comic that nano is a fine alternative.


Wow, this is great, everything is at one place, but I am afraid, I would waste more time reading HN


Glad you're enjoying it! You next major release will come with a big work vs relax switcher so you can chose to be distracted when you're on a break. :-)