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The Follies of IDE Selection by Checklist

Back on the issue of IDE bloat. Sometimes corperations pick IDEs by commitee. And that leads to the check list syndrome. Group A requires Feature A and Groups B, C, D ad infinatum. Add in another common feature of "corperate standards" where development "needs" to standardize on one IDE. So what usually winds up getting picked is the IDE that can meet the biggest check list. In the interest of not losing revenue the IDE developers try to fill all of thoese check list items as is inhumanely possible. But the problem is that the IDEs become a Jack of all Trades, and are sadly the master of none. More often than not what winds up getting picking is an IDE that no one is happy with. But it was done in a very egalitarian fashion, meaning that everyone's equally screwed in that case.

Situations like these remind me of the early days at my current job. We initally had some big fuzzy discussions about coding practices and build environments and one of the things that came up was IDEs. One person with alot of clout (that immediatly eliminates me) insisted we all use Visual Cafe because it integrated with WebLogic. At the job I had just before this one I tried to use what was a current copy of Cafe for a week. I had liked it before, but then again this was after not using it for two years while I was experementing with Linux in College (don't we all experement with stuff in college? Since I didn't experement with drugs I had to experement with something...). Anyway, I quit rather quickly because of it's horrible JDK 1.2 integration. That, and it crashed alot. I voluntered that information but it was freely ignored. Weblogic Integration was the most importaint thing (perforce integration was second) and thus the standard was Cafe (I didn't use it, I stuck with NetBeans).

This was before WebGain crashed and burned. In the year since I had abandonded it Cafe hadn't seen any major changes (despite the new major version number since WebGain bought it). A year and half later I walk into a phone confrenece where he's whining about Cafe crashing again and about what a piece of crap it was. I had to have a chuckle to myself because that's exactly what I had told him over a year earlier. It was still a piece of crap, but the piece of crap integrated with WLS.

Moral of the story? Trust experience over a marketing checklist.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 16, 2003 9:07 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Swiss Army IDE Problem.

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