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

Louis Maher ljmaher at swbell.net
Thu Oct 19 20:49:30 UTC 2017


I retired from programming two years ago.  

When I was programming, I was working on C++ object oriented code.  In this
code, subroutines were three to four statements long, and they included a
link to another subroutine or object.  The sighted programmers using IDEs
would be jumped to those remote objects automatically.  Because I did not
have access to an IDE, I had to spend hours looking for the remote
subroutine.  In short, those who used IDEs were hundreds of times more
efficient than those using manual methods.

I was working in the Linux environment using the visual editor (VI) while
the sighted types used a proprietary IDE which was completely inaccessible
for the blind.

IDEs give you a great deal of context-specific help.  If you want to call a
subroutine, the IDE will describe each of the subroutine arguments

In short, IDE-programmers are much more efficient than non-IDE programmers.

If you want to know what is really scary, consider trying to compete with
programmers using graphically-driven program generators.

Louis Maher
Phone: 713-444-7838
E-mail ljmaher at swbell.net

-----Original Message-----
From: BlindMath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Susan
Jolly via BlindMath
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2017 11:53 AM
To: blindmath at nfbnet.org
Cc: Susan Jolly <easjolly at ix.netcom.com>
Subject: [BlindMath] Thoughs on Using IDEs (was C++ IDE)

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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