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Integrated Development Environments and Lightweight Languages.
What is currently the state of the art in "integrated development
environments"? I realize that SmallTalk has its own environment, which I
have seen but never used, and I know many people swear Emacs is the one
true path, but I was wondering what ELSE there is. Particularly something
that is language neutral, but even if its not, something with an innovative
to creating programs. I know graphical languages get a bad rap, but I
think it is neat how the Altera MAX VHDL environment lets you mix
schematics and raw VHDL, and even LabView's graphical programming language
is interesting(although I personally hated using it for one of my classes
in the Spring).
A while back someone mentioned Source Code in Database, but I've also seen
some other interesting stuff like Doxygen's generated HTML, and the way
Source Navigator lets you view call graphs. I even like how the newer
Visual Studio will do a little popup with the prototype of a function in it.
I guess I was wanting to know what's out there. I mean, syntax
highlighting can't be the only way to make an editor more efficient to a
programmer. Is there some GUI IDE that could be useful for a lightweight
language designer, or is there some body of work that gives some of the
most useful ways to help the programmer out in the editor. I know one time
I thought an editor that "rolled up" loops or scopes that were nested a few
levels deeper than the current one would be cool to help jump through a
large source file, or heck, even something that automatically split a
source file into separate windows for each definition and function but then
stitched them all back together again before saving.
Its sad to admit this, but I saw several nice things in MicroSoft's
QuickBASIC compiler for DOS a LONG time ago. And then when I later moved
on, I found myself missing some of those nice features, which only worked
themselves into other things years later. I realize that they were probably
not original to the QuickBASIC IDE, but I know there's GOT to be more out
there. If not, I guess its a sad state.
I'm not protesting the tyranny of ASCII really, but I do like IDE's, and I
can't help but think they could so much better.