I'm sure I am not alone in this issue so I wanted to see what others do to handle this problem.

Whenever I have to reinstall my IDE, one of the first things I do is go out and look for addons. It starts out just grabbing whatever I plan on primarily doing but ends up with getting anything that looks interesting or may find useful in the future.

"But it's addtional functionality for free!"

In the end I just end up with a dev environment with a lot of bloat. Also happens over time so you reinstall only to start the cycle over again...

Is there a good way of handling this?

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    Learning to say no... to the list of addons. First step towards forming a virtue that's useful all the time. – user7043 Apr 8 '11 at 20:24

As you code/write, make a list each week of what you use. Those that are not on the list, try to uninstall them. If you can keep them off for a while, then you didn't need them. As you remove some, add one or two new ones. repeat.

Eventually you end up with the list of addons you use. Keep that with you when you do a new install.

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  • why not just install them as you need them to start with? – Alb Apr 8 '11 at 20:37
  • @Alb: you might not know what you "need" until you start using them... – Dean Harding Apr 8 '11 at 20:38
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    @Alb: You only know whether or not you need something after having used it. That is the fundamental dilemma of Requirements Analysis and pretty much the raison-d-être for Agile. – Jörg W Mittag Apr 8 '11 at 20:40

The answer is in the question for me: "one of the first things I do is go out and look for addons."


Every time I have to reinstall anything, I see it as an opportunity to clear out the bloat that I don't need any more.

Always be aware of what is available but don't install anything until you've run into a problem enough times that the cost of not installing it is outweighing the cost of installing it.

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    +1: Become a consultant, move around frequently. Each customer has different things they provide, expect and want. So you learn -- quickly -- to use plain, simple, no-add-on IDE's. – S.Lott Apr 8 '11 at 21:19
  • you mean like vim? – Christopher Mahan Apr 8 '11 at 22:12
  • @Christopher - Hey, don't knock vim. :: sips coffee from his Mug of Vi :: thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/mugs/7bbe (kid you not, that's what I'm doing) – pdr Apr 8 '11 at 22:18
  • I don't knock vim. I use the thing. It's almost guaranteed to be on every linux instance out there. – Christopher Mahan Apr 8 '11 at 22:44
  • Just don't knock Emacs ;) – compman Apr 12 '11 at 1:15

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