Why I Hate IDEs and Love Pida

I didn’t write much in the last time, but i hope this changes one day. The good thing is: i was very busy improving Pida.

If you would have asked my half a year ago which IDE i would use, i would have smiled and said: None, I just need a Text Editor. And this is still true somehow. For me a IDE should be: A very good Text editor + Tools to make your work easier.

The Editors

And there the problem starts: Some IDE’s have good ideas, most of them a bloated but most doesn’t have a Editor component I like. Most of them use a scintilla based one. I don’t wanna sound rude and Text editors are a matter of taste, i hate it. It feels slow when using Page Up/Down keys, Syntax files are a hell of it’s own, gtk python bindings are unstable. It has good features, code folding is very nice. But in general, it doesn’t fit my taste.

Another popular engine is GtkSourceView. I like this engine, from a programmic point of view and as a user, but it misses features like infrastucture for code folding, line markers. It’s relative fast for non fixed lineheight engine.

Vim is very popular, but just doesn’t feel right for me. I tried it, at least 3 times but never got warm with it as my editor for programming. Writing shell scripts on a remote machine, sure. But not to develop real code. And with Emacs i never got warm eigher.

I used Kate for some month. I like the editor component a lot, it’s fast (except when scroll with folded text). But Kate is not a IDE, it’s more like a programmers editor.

And then there is medit and its infrastructure. It’s GtkSourceView based but adds the features required for beeing a really good text edit component. ( I just use it so much, often I don’t really know that GtkSourceView is missing such important stuff ;) ). The Python bindings are good and mostly complete. The developer is very active, helpful and in fact, one of the best hackers i have ever seen. Just great work.

Ohh, and another thing: I will not look at a white screen all day long. I want a dark scheme and if I have to change 30 syntax files just to get a dark scheme the syntax system is broken. Eclipse is a good example for this. Changing colors must be a fast thing, selecting another scheme and everything should be fine. Nobody cares to be able to change for every language the color definition of every possible token. This is just annoying. If i really want that control, i just copy the language file and change it by hand. One theme should work for all language files. A keyword is a keyword whatevery language it is used in.

I want it slick

For me a IDE must be fast and small and extendable.

This causes some problems. Eclipse for example is just to fat for me. Taking ages to load, needs tons of RAM, feels slow all the time.

A C/C++ based IDE is not extendable enough. I don’t wanna spend month developing a small plugin (don’t get me wrong, i love C but for me lowlevel languages should be used for doing bottleneck jobs). IDE’s are mostly high level logic so a high level language should be used.

I tried Eric, and most other Python IDEs i could find, mostly regular and was disappointed all the time. But some month ago i found Pida and got just blown away. It’s slick, it’s fast, it’s extendable, it’s written in Python and the best thing: It’s not married to an editor.

Maybe i saw Pida some years befor, but as I’m not a Vim user, I ignored it. But Pida currently has support for Vim, medit and emacs as an editor component and more can be added “easily” (Having an editor not bound to the IDE is more work of course, and makes things usually more complicated. But the gain is much more then the cost :))

I liked it at the beginning even many features where not implemented yet. Hacking on Pida is lot of fun and the great architecture makes it easy.

BTW, Pida development is very active, the repository just changed (will be mirrored soon). My main repository is here.

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