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Re: IDE versus emacs

From: Óscar Fuentes
Subject: Re: IDE versus emacs
Date: Fri, 05 Oct 2012 16:23:19 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.1.50 (gnu/linux)

Wally Lepore <address@hidden> writes:

> On Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 10:22 PM, Óscar Fuentes <address@hidden> wrote:
>> Nor even on C/C++ Emacs is a top contender as an IDE anymore.
> Please clarify last sentence so I can better understand. Thank you
> very much.

Modern IDEs have a deep understanding of the programming language and
this brings in very interesting features that are out of the reach of
the simplistic syntactical parsing that Emacs does. One of the most
evident examples is code completion. If you write


on one of those modern IDEs, the type of `foo' is often known and the
candidates for completion that the IDE offers are restrained to the data
members or methods of the class/struct that corresponds to `foo'. Those
candidate methods are shown with signature and documentation. That alone
is a huge productivity boost when you are working with a big API.

Other related facilities are code browsing & navigation, refactoring,
accurate source code filling and unobtrusive error reporting as you
write code.

Emacs has partial support for some of those features, with CEDET always
shining on the horizon, but instead of catching up with other IDEs as
time passes, it is falling behind.

Then, on integrating with the traditional tools that comes with the IDE
(debuggers, profilers, etc) Emacs still is on the 90s. The GDB interface
looks primitive, flaky, arcane and inconvenient compared to other IDEs.

Don't get me wrong. I love Emacs and don't plan to switch anytime soon,
because Emacs is a great configurable *editor*. But I'll have a hard
time justifying the use of Emacs for C# or Java projects. My C++ work
does not suffer so much because I already know the APIs well enough,
although whenever I write or browse some "advanced" C++ I have to
struggle with CCMode auto-fill and font-locking capabilities.

And, to show the whole picture, it is true that Emacs is the best IDE
for quite a few languages. Those tend to be minority (but very
interesting) languages without the backing of Big Money but with very
devoted users that invest lots of time on improving Emacs' support for
their pet language.

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