Thursday, September 07, 2006

.net first impressions...

I have always been a java developer and since joining my current company, which does java and .net development, I have looked forward to the day when I would get exposure to how the .net platform works...

The project I am currently on has both .net and java elements and I have thus been able to dip tentatively into the world of dotNet.

The first thing I've discovered is that my learning the dotNet environment requires my learning a whole new IDE, and this, given the complexities and capabilities of modern IDE is a "double difficulty". Not only do I have to learn a new IDE but I also have to learn a new language. It is debatable which is more difficult.

If you consider that now only do I know java well but I also know eclipse (a java IDE) well and it would take me a long time to learn another java IDE, and it's not something I would find easy. Thus discovering the dotNet environment becomes doubly as difficult because I have to learn an IDE as well.

Now I must be careful of not making the mistake that I throw the book at the C# guys for doing, and that is condemning the platform because of the IDE. I can understand their thinking because for them there is only one IDE, thus the platform is the IDE.

Fortunately, in the java world, this connection is not so strong because there are a number of different java IDE's and thus you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that learning a new platform is not simply learning the language and the intricacies of the platform, but also learning the IDE that goes with it. This is probably a bigger task than the language itself.

But then you may ask, so what are your first impressions...

I am not ready to comment on c# as a language as I do not know enough about it, but I can make some comments on Visual Studio... Do not see this as a comparison between c# and java, but merely as a comparison of two IDE's, regardless of what language they are for.

I think the first thing that must be said is that VS is unbelievably responsive! It is like waiting right outside the door to give you what you need. It is like the waiter who does not let your glass even get half full before he is on hand to fill it up. The java IDE's in general (possibly because of the non native nature of the gui), are more like the waiter who comes round every 5 minutes or so to make sure your glasses is full. Still gets the job done but just not so quick.

I must point out however, that it is probably not much more than a "nice to have". A lot of the facilities I've come to depend on in Eclipse just aren't there in VS. When I say facilities, I mean "micro facilities". It is also very difficult to assess an IDE objectively, first impressions are always clouded by the "I can do this in eclipse, why can't I do this in VS?".

I'll continue to report on my progress through the .net environment, as and when progress occurs.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mike

Just wanted to point out that there are two IDE's for C#. The one is Visual Studio and the other is SharpDevelop. There is also a plugin for Eclipse, but I have never tried it out so I don't know whether it is any good.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about your trips into the .NET world.

Anonymous said...

Add to the IDE list Turbo C#, which was released VERY recently (might have been today).

How important is the programming language?

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