Sunday, 30 August 2009

Programming editor wars

Yet another 'editor wars' discussion on Hacker News.

I'm always surprised by how many people come out in favour of Emacs and Vi in these debates. Despite their undoubted power in the hands of an experienced user, both feel to me like slightly stone-age tools, wilfully and perversely eschewing recent progress in GUIs, usability, learn-ability, intuitiveness, and unsurprisingness. Admittedly I haven't spent the time to become proficient in either, but with similarly powerful but infinitely more modern tools like jEdit and Eclipse available, why would I?

Powerful tools should have interfaces that empower the new user right away, not cripple them until they fortuitously discover the right tricks, or work through 10 tutorials, or digest the entire manual.

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