After seeing http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ibdknox/light-table

I'm wondering if anyone has come across other alternative methods of developing.

When working on embedded things Notepad++ was ample, which isn't necessarily an IDE but it is a different way of handling things from using Xcode, Visual Studio, or Eclipse. And even JDeveloper follows the same design as those.

As OS X and other OSes change, along with website methodologies, app structures, frameworks, can we start changing how we develop? I've also seen quite a few "code on your iPad" apps.

Will we eventually move away from coding as we know it? Will there be a split? Can something like Light Table bring even low level C++ coding into the next generation of enterprise or embedded level development?

Especially since I feel like a small minority who even takes advantage of some non-default IDE settings such as custom syntax coloring (once you go Zenburn you don't go back)

closed as not a real question by Klaim, gnat, ChrisF May 3 '12 at 8:16

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  • 2
    vim is my ide of choice (works everywhere). – Martin York May 3 '12 at 3:40
  • Beings this question is closed, I wanted to add a relevant comment/answer: Cloud9 is a browser-based IDE. I haven't really used it much as vim is my editor of choice, but Cloud9 seems to be pretty functional. – Craige May 3 '12 at 13:40

I haven't seen anything used mainstream other than text editor and standard IDEs that you already mentioned.

However, long before I saw the light-table video, I did come across Code Bubbles, which is another similar idea that developers should be working with functions and code segments instead of files.


IMHO there are steady changes going on that will keep going and will make us change the way we develop software:

  • programs keep getting bigger and complexer.
  • people start working from home more.
  • programming with higher level abstractions is getting more common.
  • more diversity on the machines we want to develop on.
  • more diversity on the machines we want to develop for.

In a few places you see editors full filling some of the needs

In my mind these can evolve and be combined.


I don't know how many ideas like this exist but they do. I have been thinking of starting something similar like Light Table but primarily as a tablet IDE environment concept.

Here is why they will become standard in my opion: I believe concepts like Light Table are import to future program development. Reasons why I do are because, with a growing number of programming languages and libraries, documentation becomes increasingly important. Especially with the need to perform cross platform and language task. One thing many programmers know is that it is difficult to read some APIs if not most, and there is no real great consistency to them. Ideas like this will help create standards much like ANSI did for C.

The need for screen space on tablets will change the scope of how IDEs display information too. I do believe we are on the path to be a tablet generation; mobile programming will become growing task as this happens. A couple example of what I mean; situations when a client needs you at their office looking though files with them so you understand what they need in a small processing app. Another could be because programmers get a sore butts from sitting to long; many of them would love to travel ( tremendous upside to innovation could come from this ). There are many reasons I can think of why mobile programming is gonna become increasingly an important feature.

Why it doesn't just happen: There is a term I am sure most of you have heard " re-inventing the wheel " and have probably even been told not to do it. There is merit in this statement but it isn't solid. Programmers have created higher level languages ( modern practices ) to ease the learning curve and the same goes for libraries to those languages. When you need to minimize the space being used and code being compiled you may have to enter into lower level languages ( older practices ) to have the best performance and power in your app.

So I don't deviate to far from my point, what this means is programmers are not completely ready to reinvent the wheel. Some IDE's are very difficult to learn and programmers have had to spend huge amounts of training time into using these as efficiently as they can to become faster and better programmers ( older practices in a way ). To re-invent the wheel for IDEs they will have to add modern needs like tablet orientation or better documentation features ( newer practices (or needed)). In addition many IDEs have only become what they are due to many years of developing them to meet the needs of programmers.

Conclusion: In short they will come ( I really want to start this an open source project for my above idea in my opening sentence. ) but in due time ( which is soon ).

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    I for one won't be trading my desk and 30" montor for a tablet at a clients site any time soon... Maybe forpre and post sales, but for the really complex work, na. – mattnz May 3 '12 at 5:59
  • @mattnz While I agree immensely, the learning curve and functionality , and a learned comfort in their use through time will call for features like this I believe. I have already started to use Deuter IDE for Playbook and Android for simple test. – user51762 May 3 '12 at 6:22

Things are moving towards feature rich, minimalistic and easily extended development tools. Sublime Text is a very good example of an editor which is shaking things up with its UI, plugin system and source view. As of right now you can work with languages like C, C++, C#, Java etc. using these editors but not without some setup and loss of critical features found in your larger, more bloated IDEs. I think eventually we will see these awesome, simple and lightweight tools become the standard for development.

Others I have used in the past that remind me of what you have posted include Coda, Textmate and inType.


Somehow, it reminds me of smalltalk. The IDE was not file based but also an "all-in-one" interactive solution. However, it never really took off.

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