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poll - text editor vs development env.

vin miller
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 01, 2001
Posts: 33
Just curious how many people use text editors vs development environments (ide, app server, etc) at work and what you preference is.
I prefer text editors. Although they have their advantages, I feel that the development environments take away some creativity and control.
Andy Ceponis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 782
Im still fairly new to Java, but i have learned on a text editor. Since ive never even used an IDE i cant really even compare them , but ive been told that its better to learn with a plain vanilla text editor. And while im no expert yet, i like the editor and have no desire to even try out an IDE.
Ashwin Desai
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Joined: Jul 17, 2000
Posts: 124
I have been using a shareware IDE (java based) called Elixir. But, I use the IDE more as an editor. The IDE provides syntax highlighting, indentation, error checks (due to missing ; } etc). I compile and run the programs at the prompt.
John Bateman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 09, 2000
Posts: 320
I used to be a major Purist and looked at IDE's as the lazy man's tool.
Now I use IDE's whenever posbible. The debugging, syntax highlighting and project management alone is well worth it. Add the fact that some IDE's have pluggable bean support and the ability to run webservers inside the IDE (for servlet/jsp etc) make them my fav.
I, however, never use the 'visual' drag and drop of these IDEs'.
My favorite, for the record, is JBuilder but I also used to like working in Cafe. When I did have to use a 'text' editor I used WinEdit.

SOURCE CODE should be SURROUNDED by "code" tags.
Nathan Pruett

Joined: Oct 18, 2000
Posts: 4121

I prefer to use ( and mostly do use ) minimal IDEs... TextPad and JEDPlus being my two favourite...
However, at work we use JBuilder... it has some nice features like linking to where things are declared, but usually runs too slow to really help... so I usually write most of my code in one of my favourite minimal IDEs, then open it in JBuilder to do any debugging... one of the few things that the smaller IDEs won't do...
Just my $0.02,

Write once, run anywhere, because there's nowhere to hide! - /. A.C.
Junilu Lacar

Joined: Feb 26, 2001
Posts: 6529

Text editors are fine if you're doing solo programming/development. For serious team development though, IDEs like VisualAge for Java or JBuilder Enterprise help a lot. I disagree that they take away creativity. In fact, in a team enviroment, they help developers concentrate on more creative activities by taking away most of the burden of configuration management. I think the benefits derived from this far outweigh any loss of control you would have had by using text editors.
My $0.02

Junilu - [How to Ask Questions] [How to Answer Questions]
vin miller
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 01, 2001
Posts: 33
Thanks for the input.
I use textpad, which I didn't really consider a IDE. I have never really fully used and IDE before, but some of the posts have made me more open minded about them. I guess it's more of how you use them. So long as the code is not dependent on the tool.
Rita Williams

Joined: Jan 30, 2001
Posts: 10
Here are just a few of the reasons that I like Code Warrior. I have the same IDE for C++ and for Java. Color coded syntax
helps to recognize typos. When I enter a }, the editor quickly displays the matching {. Easy to select a block and shift left or right.
Andy Ceponis
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Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 782
I take it all these IDE's cost money? Maybe i can get a student discount like at the movies?
Kevin Luludis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 13, 2001
Posts: 30
I agree with Rita. I don't know very much about java, its packages or programming in general. I am basically a newbie struggling to learn it all. I prefer the text environment of the IDE's because of the color schemes and matching of the brackets. It's those simple things that helps me out alot when trying to figure out what I am doing wrong.
Angela Lamb
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2001
Posts: 156
I like using Kawa. It is similar to the plain text editors, but has code coloring and bracket matching. It is also supposed to have debugging features, but I haven't found a way to get these to work. Sometimes if I'm having trouble with a graphics layout, I'll fire up one of the visual editors, but I find the code that they generate is too messy for my tastes.
David Gerstman

Joined: Mar 21, 2001
Posts: 6
Originally posted by Andy Ceponis:
I take it all these IDE's cost money? Maybe i can get a student discount like at the movies?

Not all of them do. Borland's (Inprise's) JBuilder Foundation edition is available at
You can also download the Community edition of Forte for java (from Sun) at
I found Forte very difficult to handle. JBuilder, with my limited experience so far has been far easier to use.
Or for an academic version of JBuilder Pro check out
Hope that helps.
cliff bilis

Joined: Mar 20, 2001
Posts: 2
How many of you program in an unix environment? I opened this thread expecting to see a lot of fellow vi/vim users.
When I'm on a win machine, I like TextPad. I've used both JBuilder and VisualCafe. Both were nice, but VisualCafe did seem to be a bit of a memory hog.
Most of my coding nowdays is done in unix, so it's vi or vim.
Cliff Bilis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
I started with Notepad, briefly. Then I went to Textpad ( I think). Textpad was great compared to Notepad. But I wouldn't call it an IDE. Then I tried JBuilder3. I didn't really like JBuilder3. Then I tried IBM's VisualAge for Java and have stayed with it. It helps you organize your code and sort of forces you to think in terms of individual objects or methods, rather than a block of code (class). If you use the visual component of it, VisualAge thows in a bunch of funny code. And when you're under the gun, it's faster to develop and debug. I'd like to try JBuilder4; a lot of people like that one too.
Surya Bahadur
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 28, 2000
Posts: 88
I use VisualCafe as an editor,thats about it...but to actually compile the program i would anyday prefer command line and
javac is also quite good as an editor.
Rich Price

Joined: Mar 14, 2001
Posts: 2
i use Visual Cafe to code and debug. All the color coding is nice, plus there are shortcuts.
for example, i have a macro that is ctl+m that prints the line
"System.err.println(" for me. since i use that line for debugging quite a bit, it's nice to have a macro type it for me.
plus, in visual cafe there is a drop down for each class listing the methods in that class. you can jump around in the class quite easily that way

Todd Loeber

Joined: Mar 15, 2001
Posts: 6
I get a lot out of vim and ctags on unix. The creator of Vim claims that it runs on (and I quote)
AmigaOS, AtariMiNT, BeOS, DOS, MacOS,
MachTen, OS/2, RiscOS, VMS, and Windows (95/98/NT4/NT5/2000)
and, of course, on UNIX in a lot of flavours:
A/UX, AIX, BSDI, Convex, DYNIX/ptx, DG/UX, DEC Unix, FreeBSD,
HPUX, Irix, Linux [Debian, RedHat, Slackware, SuSE,...],
Solaris, SunOS, SUPER-UX, Ultrix, Unixware, Unisys.
I really like the syntax highlighting and such, it's definitely an improvement over vi. I have it set as the default editor on all my unix apps and I believe on windows you can set it as the default editor for Visual Studio, etc.
And the best part... It's free!
ryan burgdorfer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 24, 2001
Posts: 219
A little-known but feature-rich editor I use is called SynEdit. It is freeware, allows the configuration of external programs (for compiling, applet viewing, debugging, etc.) and of course includes the usual syntax-highlighting, tabs-to-spaces conversion, auto completion, etc...truly a joy to code with. But I really wouldn't consider it an IDE. At home, I use VI on FreeBSD (and occasionally, good ole' Notepad on my other machine). But I really prefer to use SynEdit, on my machine at work. That's where I do most of my coding anyway.
  • Ryan Burgdorfer
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Daniel Searson
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Joined: Dec 03, 2000
Posts: 83
I use EditPlus ( for all my work. It can be set up to compile/run with shortcut keys which makes development a bit easier. I tried JBuilder 4 but it ran very slow on my machine... I may have to switch to an IDE once my programs start to run into multiple packages etc.

- Daniel
Johannes de Jong

Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
I use TextPad and I must say I'm very happy with it.
mohit joshi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 23, 2000
Posts: 243
I also work with EditPlus, which I guess must be like textpad.I dont use it for compiling, because it starts having problems with multi-threaded programming.
Wirianto Djunaidi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 20, 2001
Posts: 210

For most of the time I'll use VIM on both unix and window.
If I want to change a lot of files and debugging at once,
I'll use Netbeans(open source version of Forte for Java).
I loved vim, it can pretty much do anything I want...
the only thing I still trying to figure out is if it can
be hook up to a debugger ala EMACS.
I know EMACS can do a lot of thing, and I can use them
fairly well...but somehow I'm more a vi guy
Andrew Shafer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Posts: 338

The JDE for EMACS gives you color coding on syntax and the ability to compile, debug, etc. with your handy Emacs editor.
Runs on *nix/Windows and is Open Source/Free Software.

octavyn pittman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 06, 2001
Posts: 134
I've got to plug JavaSoft's Forte CE IDE. It's free, and I like the way it interacts with the JDK. I never use the "automatic" features, but I like the way they have set up the different modules, the way it compiles, the mounting feature, and other things too. It is a bit difficult at first, but I like it much better than JBuilder and Visual Cafe.
Robert van der Vliet

Joined: Jun 30, 2001
Posts: 4
I use Netbeans as my main IDE. The "object-oriented" approach to everything (including suppressing file extension display by default (you can turn it on)) was frustrating at first but has paid off. I'm pretty happy and productive with it. Open-source, so zero $ cost.
There are always "quickie edits" I want to do ("don't interpret, don't make me jump through hoops or change my project file, just gimme the text now"). For this I've been using UltraEdit32. I really can't complain about this except that I'm charged for it. I need it on a number of machines, though, and I'm not going to buy a license for each of these installations.
I'm looking at ConTEXT at the moment which seems quite promising as an all-rounder.
A Agrawal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 13, 2001
Posts: 41
I disagree with Editors take away creativity. Anyway, Editors make Life Easier and Coding/debugging faster.
I use TextPad for Non Visual Java, EditPlus for Servlets/Jsp/JS and JBulider for visual java (Swing/AWT). I oftenly use kawa while I am managing a Pkg as a Project otherwise not.
Amit Agrawal,
New Delhi, India.

Amit Agrawal,<BR>New Delhi, India.
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: poll - text editor vs development env.
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