advantages of using IDE

This is a discussion on advantages of using IDE within the C Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; please give some points on advantages of using IDEs instead of writing, compiling and executing the code manually....

  1. #1
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    advantages of using IDE

    please give some points on advantages of using IDEs instead of writing, compiling and executing the code manually.

  2. #2
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Why don't you try your hand at using IDEs and compare that with your experience in using separate tools?
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    Depends on the sophistication of the IDE, but generally, it makes life easier:
    1. You press (say) F7 to build your application, compared to typing "make" (or up-arrow a number of times until you get to the last time you did "make").
    2. You can double-click on a compiler error, and get taken directly to the line of the error.
    3. Most IDE's have features such as "expand this" - so when you have typed Nam (and some magical key), it expands to NameOfVeryLongFunction().
    4. When the time comes to debug your code, you can just press a single key (or two keys, perhaps), such as F5, to run the application inside the debugger. And when you smack your forehead and say something like "Stupid me", you can just fix the code in the editor there and then, press a couple of keys to rebuild and debug, and you see the effect immediately.
    5. For GUI application development, there is usually a GUI-layout/design tool in the IDE as well, which helps with making GUI objects such as menus, icons, dialog boxes, etc, etc.

    Using a standalone editor, and a separate debugger is a bit more work, and when you come to going backwards and forwards, it often means more steps between one tool and the other.

    But it is a personal preference, and just as you find some people prefer hand-tools to power-tools for various work, you'll find those who prefer the standalone tools.

    It is worth noting also that IDE's aren't that new - Emacs has had the facility to compile and debug code for at least 15 years, probably a fair bit longer, really.

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    30 Helens Agree neandrake's Avatar
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    matsp - you're forgetting about actually making the make file too. that can be a pain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by neandrake View Post
    matsp - you're forgetting about actually making the make file too. that can be a pain.
    Yes, you are right, but sometimes you have to do that even in an IDE (at least, sort of, by putting the object or source file into some sort of "build-this file").

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    please give some points on advantages of using IDEs instead of writing, compiling and executing the code manually.
    Whether an IDE or the simple setting (i.e., editor + compiler) best suits your needs highly depends on your programming task and behaviour.

    Personally, I don't program on a regular basis, and if I do start to produce some code beyond the scope of a small hack, I tend to know exactly what I want to write and how, and generally this will be some sort of a library with a well-defined interface and purpose, not an application that often changes its internal structure. Also, I'm not a friend of extreme programming. To this extend, I'm happy with a shell, gcc, gdb, svn and vim.

    On the other hand, if you are involved in a large project consisting of a high number of different source files (i.e., more than 10), probably using lots of external libraries and if you need to refactor the code twice per day, I would recommend using an IDE that handles the overhead, has support for tab-completion (what does the function prototype look like today?), adjusts header files and function prototypes automatically, generates Makefiles, creates dependencies on-the-fly and supports debugging and version control out of the box.

    In any case, if you are working in a Unix environment, I suggest that you make yourself familiar with the shell and at least one of emacs and vi, because sooner or later you will need it anyway. I don't know about the situation in Windows and other popular environments.


    you're forgetting about actually making the make file too. that can be a pain.
    Can you make an example?

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    Last edited by Snafuist; 03-02-2009 at 06:12 PM.
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    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    In my experience, any significantly complex product will have a custom build environment, i.e., not just built from an IDE project. The requirements of a real product are usually too complex to model with a general purpose tool.

    In fact, none of the major projects I've worked on were buildable from the IDE, period. Even though both use MSVC compilers.

    The potential to suddenly have to switch to a completely different compiler and/or environment usually trumps the moderate benefit gained by locking yourself into a particular development environment.

    Although IDEs offer some cool coding features, like code completion, rapid search, and symbol indexing, other general purpose editors are available that can do these things. Ultimately I think it's most important to feel comfortable with your editor. You are (hopefully) going to spend most of your time writing code, not building product.

    An IDE brings a lot of programming necessities together under one roof, but you are really only getting one company's idea of what the ideal dev environment is. It may not have much to do with your actual needs.

    Even Microsoft does not build their product from the IDE. (For that matter, they don't even use their own source control system for SCCS)
    Code:
    //try
    //{
    	if (a) do { f( b); } while(1);
    	else   do { f(!b); } while(1);
    //}

  9. #9
    30 Helens Agree neandrake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snafuist View Post
    Can you make an example?
    make example
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