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Need recommendation for lightweight IDE.

Fred Hamilton
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Joined: May 13, 2009
Posts: 679
Greetings, I have an old and slow computer, and my experience with NetBeans is that is very resource hungry, I've tried it and it is slow as molasses on my computer. Till now I've done all my coding in Notepad.

I don't need all the features that NetBeans offers, mostly I just need something that will handle formatting code that I guess NetBeans puts into code samples I download from Sun. If you just open up the .java file in Notepad it is a jumble. Maybe some basic IDE functionality might be nice, but I wish to be able to maintain my source code as plain text. Maybe some enhanced editor features that shows JAVA keywords and commands in a different font or color or something would be nice also.

It is interesting to note though that if you copy/paste from Notepad into a Coderanch editor pane, then copy/paste back into Notepad, it looks great, but it doesn't work for copying from one Notepad into another.


Fred Hamilton
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Joined: May 13, 2009
Posts: 679
ok, Wordpad, or any other word processor can display the files ok, so that solves my immediate problem. A lightweight IDE would still be nice though
Peter Johnson
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Joined: May 14, 2008
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    7

Try Notepad++, it is an open source tool.

I also favor UltraEdit, but it costs $$$.

Both do formatting and color highlighting and lots of other good stuff.


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David Newton
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You can either have an IDE, or you can have something lightweight.

If text editor with syntax highlighting is enough then just about anything will work--there are a million of them.

Java source code *is* plain text: your issue with Notepad is most likely a line-ending issue.

Programming Java w/o an IDE, IMO, is essentially pointless--w/o an IDE you have all the disadvantages of Java and none of the advantages.
Fred Hamilton
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Joined: May 13, 2009
Posts: 679
David Newton wrote:You can either have an IDE, or you can have something lightweight.

If text editor with syntax highlighting is enough then just about anything will work--there are a million of them.

Java source code *is* plain text: your issue with Notepad is most likely a line-ending issue.

Programming Java w/o an IDE, IMO, is essentially pointless--w/o an IDE you have all the disadvantages of Java and none of the advantages.


ok, if you are saying that IDE are by nature resource hogs, then duly noted.

ok duly noted, line break thing makes sense. I can view the file fine using the DOS editor.

That's an interesting point about java being pointless without an IDE. I'm not sure what you mean by pointless. What are some of these advantages of java that are lost without an IDE? If you just mean you are at a competitive disadvantage to a programmer with an IDE, I can understand that. Is there anything else?

p.s. Thanks to Peter for the Notepad++ recomendation.
David Newton
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The (relatively) static nature of Java is what makes good tooling easy to implement. It's also what makes Java unnaturally verbose.

Without the tooling Java is an unwieldy and inefficient environment. IMO, w/o an IDE you have the disadvantages (verbose, no integrated access to the *giant* ecosystem) with none of the advantages (completion, automated docs/hovers/discovery, incremental compilation, etc.)

With good tooling I can come closer to approaching the efficiency I have in more dynamic environments (in some cases surpass), at least from the standpoint of being able to use the language to its fullest potential. Without the tooling it feels positively archaic.
Fred Hamilton
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Joined: May 13, 2009
Posts: 679
OK thanks bud, I've been thinking about maxing out the RAM on my PIII-WinXP machine. RAM is certainly cheap enough. If I do that, I may give netBeans another go.

Right now I'm just a hobbyist, so I don't have to please anyone but myself. But if I do get into programming to make a buck, probably I will upgrade a few things.

regards.
Joachim Rohde
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Joined: Nov 27, 2006
Posts: 423

If you just need basic functionality why don't you try out an older version which is not that feature-bloated? On the Netbeans-site you can find all old versions back to 3.5.1 (which is already 6 years old) under http://www.netbeans.info/downloads/dev.php
I guess it's better than nothing (or Notepad ;-)
Tim Holloway
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Joined: Jun 25, 2001
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  19

Even the oldest of the GUI IDEs - and I'm thinking of my ca. 2001 copy of Visual Café here - can really suck a lot out of a machine.

An alternative is to install cygwin, which provides a Unix (Linux)-like environment under Windows, and use its package manager to download and install Emacs.

If you ever used the legendary WordStar program, you'll love Emacs - it was originally designed for a keyboard with something like 5 different kinds of shift keys. And used them all.

Regardless, it's a fairly friendly program and very extensible. No other text editor I know of comes with its own psychiatrist. Although some people think it's really an OS that's only pretending to be a text editor. Or the Master Control Program from "Tron".

But what makes this worth consideration is that among the add-ons you can get it to install is the JDE Java Development Environment. While it's not quite up to a bitmapped GUI IDE, it does have all sorts of features that can really help edit Java code.

I used this environment as one of my primary development platforms (running native Linux, not cygwin) on a Pentium 200 with 98 MB of RAM that was also running mail and database servers. Unless you're a talking a really antique box, you probably have something far more powerful than that (although that P200 is still online as part of my server farm).


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David Newton
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AFAIK the xrefactory-java stuff is available for free now; it was my primary free Java IDE until Eclipse became less horrible many moons ago. It doesn't support 1.5+, however.
Jesper de Jong
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  16

Which operating system are you using?

On the Mac, TextMate is very popular.

On Linux (with the GNOME desktop environment), the default text editor gedit is quite good, it has syntax highlighting and other features and can be extended with plug-ins. Another very nice, light-weight IDE is Geany. It also runs on Windows, but to me it looks uglier and less usable on Windows than on Linux.

On Windows there are lots of editors with syntax highlighting and other IDE-like features, such as UltraEdit, Notepad++ and TextPad.

There's also jEdit which is written in Java, so it runs anywhere where you have Java installed.


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Fred Hamilton
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Joined: May 13, 2009
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Thanks for all the tips. I'm curretnly running Windows XP on a PIII-733 with 256 MB RAM and a 10 GB hard drive, so I don't have a lot of room for software. Probably I'll take a look at NotePad++ or an older IDE, maybe NetBeans, hopefully there is no compatibiity issues with the newest JDKs.

Being a hobbyist, I don't see an IDE as a must, though if I ever decide to try make a dollar at it, I'll need proper tools I'm sure.

I'm past the age where learning and remembering comes easy, I have to work at it, so the biggest challenge for me is to remember what I did a few weeks later. I'm sure a disciplined approach to documenting my efforts would have a bigger impact on efficiency than any IDE I might use. I find a wiki type program to be very useful for keeping track of my ever expanding project. http://wikidpad.sourceforge.net/ is excellent.
David Newton
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One value-add of IDEs is that they don't force you to remember as much and allow more ad-hoc (re-)discovery of functionality.

I can't even imagine running XP on a 256M machine, let alone developing Java. On a resource-constrained machine like that I'd use something else, like Forth.
Tim Holloway
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Joined: Jun 25, 2001
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  19

Fred Hamilton wrote:
Being a hobbyist, I don't see an IDE as a must, though if I ever decide to try make a dollar at it, I'll need proper tools I'm sure.


Sadly, far too many people being paid to develop software full-time do see an IDE as a must. Not because it boosts their productivity, but because they understand so little about what they're working with that without the wizards and helpers that provide them with the crutches they need, they wouldn't be able to do the job. Sometimes I want to just weep.

So the sorry truth of it is that you'll probably become more competent than many "professionals".

Not that that makes you more employable in today's business enviroment, where they're looking more for the software equivalent of Chinese toys from Wal-Mart.

What? Me have an attitude problem?
Fred Hamilton
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Joined: May 13, 2009
Posts: 679
David Newton wrote:One value-add of IDEs is that they don't force you to remember as much and allow more ad-hoc (re-)discovery of functionality.

I can't even imagine running XP on a 256M machine, let alone developing Java. On a resource-constrained machine like that I'd use something else, like Forth.


Point taken, I do thrash my hard drive a fair bit, but it kind of begs the question, doesn't it? It's probably the reason why I'm not using an IDE :) But yeah, I have noticed that some programs written in java are kind of kludgy.




edit: p.s. to Tim - we have a few things in common. One should know what your "wssiwyg ide" or editor is doing. It's also the reason I learned web design using a text editor. Learn to walk before you try running. There is nothing I hate worse than looking at html code that came from a wysiwyg editor and finding a mish-mash of stuff that can't possibly be deciphered.
Fred Hamilton
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Joined: May 13, 2009
Posts: 679
Peter Johnson wrote:Try Notepad++, it is an open source tool.

I also favor UltraEdit, but it costs $$$.

Both do formatting and color highlighting and lots of other good stuff.


I downloaded Notepad++ and it seems quite nice. I like that you can customize the styles for colorization and hi-lighting.

I haven't yet tried the Macro and Run features, but it looks like you might be able to use them to compile and run java code?
Peter Johnson
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    7

Back in the dark ages I recall editing Java code in UltraEdit (no syntax highlighting at that time) while having a browser open to the JDK's javadoc. But every since IDEs provided command completion (Intellisense, in Visual Studio terms), I much prefer using a full IDE - makes coding so much easier. But I use Eclipse primarily as a glorified text editor, rarely making use of any wizards (many of them don't work correctly because they make invalid (on my machine) assumptions, or they are way harder to use than simply editing the text, or they obfuscate what is really going on (how can you learn a new technology if you haven't suffered the pain of editing the dozens of config/text/code files manually a few dozen times?)), and never using the build facilities (I rely on Ant or Maven for that - repeatable, schedulable, sharable, command-line builds are crucial to me).
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Need recommendation for lightweight IDE.
 
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