[erlang-questions] Use of makefiles

Alpár Jüttner alpar@REDACTED
Sun Mar 2 22:56:50 CET 2008

Really can't understand this ``using emacs vs. some kind of IDE''

I have been using emacs for a very long time for almost everything (see
my comment below). I really love it, it fits my needs far more than
anything else.

But emacs _is_ an IDE (Integrated Development Environment), as well.

It does syntax highlighting, I can compile my code from it, I can jump
to the line caused the syntax error. It can also execute or debug the
compiled code. Its gdb-based debugger is not behind any other IDE's
source code debugger. It also supports project based working by its
Makefile and autotool support and also by supporting virtually all
version control systems (cvs, svn, git, hg, bzr etc.). It even provides
a conventional menu and toolbar today.
In fact, it _integrates_ even more development tools than any other IDE.
For example it has nice integrated shell, e-mail support, file manager

The real difference is that while Visual Studio or Eclipse want to be as
easy-to-learn as possible, emacs assumes that you are willing to learn
something new and unusual in order to achieve higher productivity.

I think the same applies to 'make' and also to the autotools.


P.S. My biggest problem with emacs is the lack of built-in concurrency.
For example I used to use its e-mail client RMAIL and I was quite
satisfied with it. But I had to change, because around 2002 my company
(Ericsson) changed to another mail server which answered very slowly to
POP3 requests and thus it blocked my emacs for a long time at each
mailbox refreshing. The same problem arises at other places like in
emacs/w3 and it often makes the design of emacs tools very complex (e.g.

Now - as I now a little bit about erlang - I wish emacs had been written
in this great language instead.

On Sat, 2008-03-01 at 21:41 -0500, Steve Vinoski wrote:
> On 2/29/08, Joe Armstrong <erlang@REDACTED> wrote:
> >  In general I try to use *generic* tools for all programing tasks, for
> >  me this means that
> >  make, emacs, bash, and xterm are constants for all projects. The only
> >  bit that varies is the choice
> >  of programming language.
> >
> >  When I learn a new language all I have to do is learn the language -
> >  all the other tools say the same -
> >  in the long term this is far better than learning specific tools for
> >  each language - it allows me to concentrate
> >  on the important details (learning the new language) and not get
> >  bogged down in the details of the support
> >  system. (This is also why I *hate* visual environments - each one is
> >  *different*, text tools stay the same
> >  across machine and time boundaries). I can (and do) run makefiles that
> >  are 15 years old - the same cannot be said for visual build
> >  environments.
> Hi Joe, I agree with you 100%. Give me emacs (with its vast emacs-lisp
> extensibility), bash (or ksh), and various UNIX command-line tools,
> which I can combine as I wish using pipes, and keep the visual tools
> out of my way (and out of my RAM).
> Here's a very insightful explanation of the differences between those
> of us who look to languages for productivity, and others who instead
> look to tools and IDEs for productivity:
> <http://osteele.com/archives/2004/11/ides>
> --steve
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