IDE support?

Wes Garland wes at
Tue Sep 13 12:32:21 PDT 2011

Great post, Allen!

On 13 September 2011 15:01, Allen Wirfs-Brock <allen at> wrote:

> We need to do the same thing with our JS tools.  All of the great dynamic
> language IDEs (that, BTW, preceded and largely inspired  the modern static
> language IDEs) were "live" environments.  They didn't just provide a live
> debugging experience, it was a live authoring experience. You developed code
> as a dynamic running program.  They truly support incremental, interactive
> development.  Developers operate in a continuous write a little/run a little
> cycle. The tools use information obtained from an actual running program to
> provide a great developer experience.

This reminds of one of my constant modern-day-language
development-time interactivity.

I cut my very first programming teeth during the 8-bit microcomputer era,
and learned a wide variety of BASICs (Sinclair, Commodore, AppleSoft, Atari,
GW-).  A few years on and I'd moved to environments like Logo, Quick Basic
4.5 (not Visual Basic), before heading for less dynamic (but faster)
pastures. I've spent time with unusual IDEs like Garry Kitchen's Game Maker,
Opcode's MAX, and ControllerMate IV.

All of these environments -- even if the languages themselves were awful --
had one thing in common which I love: you just type stuff in, and it goes.
You can try a hundred solutions as fast as you can google for one.  You get
to explore the machine. You learn by doing.

These are great traits, and one of the reasons I love JS is that I believe I
can recapture some of that ... agility ... that has been eroded over the

When I write shell programs, and JS programs, I keep an extra terminal
window open to a spare shell or a JS REPL.  I try stuff. Stuff that works, I
copy into my program.  Then I run my program - which happens quickly,
because the compiler is super-fast and the program is a contained entity
which probably runs in a dynamically configured environment.

I'm a *highly *productive shell programmer, and a very productive JS
programmer.  I spent more than a decade full time hacking C, and I
frequently write JS programs which are superior to equivalent C programs,
even when they are both manipulating the same underlying OS calls, because I
can test my JS incrementally  (not to mention prototypal inheritance,
superior flow control,etc).

So, even though C is absolutely my forte, I prefer to hack in JS these days
because I am so much more productive.  That increase in productivity is due
in no small part to the dynamic language development experience you
mentioned above....

....and I believe we have only barely scratched the surface.  I can't wait
to see what improvements will be brought to the ECMAScript IDE in the next
few years.


Wesley W. Garland
Director, Product Development
PageMail, Inc.
+1 613 542 2787 x 102
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