[BlindMath] Thoughs on Using IDEs (was C++ IDE)

Susan Jolly easjolly at ix.netcom.com
Thu Oct 19 16:52:35 UTC 2017

I'm an experienced sighted programmer and I am not a fan of IDEs.

Of course, if you are taking a class where the use of an IDE is required, 
then you don't have much choice.  Similarly, if you are one of the 
developers on a team that uses a certain IDE you don't have much choice. 
(Even teams that don't use IDEs per se typically have protocols that require 
certain tools.)

However, if you are just learning to program or to use a new language and 
aren't required to be part of a team, I think you will learn more and find 
it easier to develop your own protocols, at least at first, if you don't use 
an IDE.  If nothing else, you will better understand what an IDE is doing 
behind the curtain.

It takes a while just to choose a text editor and to become facile with it. 
The best choice depends not only on what works with your operating system 
and screenreader but on what fits your style. Maybe you are one of the 
people who prefers a powerful generic tool like emacs that is much more than 
a text editor; maybe something like Notepad++ together with your own 
separate scripts meets your needs.

Of course you need to reproduce the steps to compile and run the "Hello 
World" test program.  This may require downloading and installing a compiler 
and so forth.  But if you are working systematically, it shouldn't be that 
difficult to determine where any problems are and to fix ithem. Well, this 
should be enough detail for you to get a sense of why I think it better to 
not start with an IDE.

One general problem I have with IDEs is that they don't organize the 
workflow exactly the way I feel most comfortable.

A more specific example is that if the compiler finds an error, the IDE 
immediately opens the source file and highlights the lines where the 
compiler says there is an error. Unfortunately, my compiler errors are often 
not simple typos but rather clues or reminders of bigger issues that I need 
to address. So the IDE's default action often distracts me from paying 
sufficient attention to what I'm doing.

As always, YMMV.
Best, SusanJ 

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