Arman's stuff

(Fri Aug 14 09:33:23 2009)

Long, long ago, I programmed QBASIC in the QBASIC editor in DOS.

Then I moved on to Pascal, in the Borland Pascal editor. Early in my college career, I programmed C++ in Quincy2k and HTML in Netscape. By the time I graduated, I was programming Perl in vi and HTML in Notepad (and then Opera). In my current job, I use Visual Studio to program VB.Net.

Visual Studio does a good job of taking care of all those extra little bits you don't really need to worry about - instead of coding a dozen lines or more, just to say I want a button with the word "Cancel" in the lower right corner of my form, I drag a button onto a form, click twice, and type in the name. I don't have to worry about remembering what I named that awkward subroutine, either, because the IDE has intellisense, and thus can autocomplete the line, or at least give me options as to what I could use. Up until a few minutes ago, I thought that was pretty dang cool; in Notepad or vi, or even the (ancient) Borland editor and Quincy2k, those things were nothing more than a pipe dream. I had concluded that the other IDEs I've used (for brief amounts of time) were that way simply because the open source community just didn't really care about that (or because they were old).

And then I found Netbeans.

I needed to code a Java applet for a website I'm working on, so I decided (grudgingly) to install yet another IDE. There were a few things I missed from Visual Studio in the general setup of things... but then I started coding. Wow! now only did it do autocomplete, but it *automatically* filled in variables, yet far without a single mistake! When that first variable popped in, I nearly gaped in surprise; having used it a little, I almost felt as if I don't need to write the program, just tell it the general idea of what I want and it'll do it all for me. I'm telling you, it's awesome.

It can't really replace me as a programmer, of course, but Netbeans is doing things that even the great Visual Studio can't do. It really helps my image of the open source movement when things like this exist; I know open source gives me a million options, and far more powerful tools than most commercial stuff, but it's things like this that work well and look good doing it that keep me a strong supporter.

Free is good, and free and powerful is better, but free, powerful, and awesome is best of all.

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