[erlang-questions] Time to update programming rules?

Richard A. O'Keefe <>
Mon Sep 8 07:26:00 CEST 2008

On 8 Sep 2008, at 2:48 pm, Edwin Fine wrote:
> Firstly, unless you are running X on a PDP-11/44 or NT on a 286, an  
> IDE like Eclipse is not that much of a big deal. These days there  
> are plenty of spare cycles and memory addresses to hog on a modern  
> development workstation.

My main machine is a 500MHz UltraSPARC II.
The IDE from Sun is NetBeans.
So I tried downloading Sun's IDE (written in Sun's language)
from Sun's website and installing it on Sun hardware running
Sun's operating system with Sun's compilers.
And it didn't work.

Last night I was using Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 on a new
laptop (not mine).  It did nothing to improve my opinion of
IDEs, let's put it that way.

The worst thing that these things hog is screen area.

I'm a fan of Smalltalk, which gets the screen area bit
right.  It's pretty much the only IDE that I do like.  But
they said "oh, machines are faster bigger, so we can make
pretty-print-as-you-type and colourising defaults" and
pretty soon the 1GHz PowerMac I was using was crawling.

> Secondly, although I agree that ideally one should not need an IDE  
> to compensate for design errors in a programming language, IDEs are  
> peerless when it comes to supporting computer-aided processes like  
> refactoring.

The Smalltalk refactoring browser is a fine example of that.

> Machines are far better at cross-checking fiddly things like inter-  
> and intra-module references than are humans. And besides, I know of  
> no significant (i.e. those I have heard of ;) programming languages  
> that lack design errors.

Meyer's LACE referred to the "Language for Assembling Classes
in Eiffel."

As for design errors, there are differences of degree.  The
inconsistencies in the dotted module names "feature" put it
roughly on a level with C's switch() statement.

More information about the erlang-questions mailing list