Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

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#1 Zuelajindi  Icon User is offline

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Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Post icon  Posted 20 June 2013 - 12:18 AM

Does anyone else think that dev software packages are becoming too user-friendly? It looks like that some (like Dreamweaver) just allow the user to have the program do it for them. I am far more comfortable using a text editor like Notepad++ for web development.

This post has been edited by macosxnerd101: 20 June 2013 - 07:33 AM
Reason for edit:: Renamed title to be more descriptive

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Replies To: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 06:12 AM

This is a years old debate. Those of us that recall dialing servers directly think you youngsters have it to easy with the Internet. For that matter it is way easy now where you can just by a PC instead of having to build it.

In other words: get over it.

Every generation has it easier than the previous in all areas, not just computers. I had to learn to parallel park my car, today you buy a car that does it for you. See my point? I'm sure you have better things to think about than how good the next generation has it.
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#3 cfoley  Icon User is online

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:01 AM

I know a retired accountant who is quite bitter about the changes Excel made to his work. Rather than making his life better, his bosses expected him to do more work in a day.

I think software tools are the same. They let you build bigger and better things in a shorter time.

Quote

It looks like that some (like Dreamweaver) just allow the user to have the program do it for them. I am far more comfortable using a text editor like Notepad++ for web development.


Who makes websites that are prettier, cross-browser, standards compliant, maintainable, scalable, documented, tested, etc.

Who does it faster and cheaper?

Is the gap closing or widening?
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#4 BetaWar  Icon User is online

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:05 AM

Yes and no. I don't have a problem with programs making it easier for people to accomplish tasks that they would have to do anyways. That if how we get more bang for our buck after all. My problem stems from WYSIWYG and other style editors which take all of the skill out of a task. At that point you are attempting to replace your workers with a machine (or a high school drop out who is capable of clicking a mouse). There is a tangible increase in throughput and quality of code when the person you are paying actually knows what they are doing. While it isn't as valued today, I believe it should be.
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#5 Michael26  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:06 AM

View PostZuelajindi, on 20 June 2013 - 09:18 AM, said:

Does anyone else think that dev software packages are becoming too user-friendly?


Same can be said for code generation service, example you can generate your own CRUD code or let other do it for you
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#6 cfoley  Icon User is online

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:08 AM

It's ironic that programmers are happy to automate everyone else's domain except their own.
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#7 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:10 AM

I think the .NET programmers are the exceptions (no pun intended) to that. I've read a lot of Sergio Tapia's and baavgai's posts where they tout the benefits of Microsoft code generation and automation tools. From what I've gathered, it seems Microsoft puts a lot of effort into making a developer's job easier. modi123_1 also had good things to say about a code generation tool.
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#8 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:16 AM

This is a question that begs to be opened up. Continuing in the vein that @cfoley has started, here are some more:

- Are novice web developers failing to learn the fundamentals because of point-and-click tools like Dreamweaver? (a common observation with novice developers learning on IDEs)
- Do the tools prejudice developers towards particular design choices (at the expense of other, perhaps better ones) or do they open up the design space to more creativity, experimentation, and better designs?
- Do development tools produce code that can be modified freely by a future developer, working without that tool?
- How relevant are dev tools like Dreamweaver in the context of frameworks and CMS-driven sites?
- Are we likely to see a continuation of the divide between web programming and applications programming? Do dev tools like Dreamweaver support this division, and is this important?


Ultimately, these tools are going to exist, and they're going to be used. The trick, I think, is designing them so the answers to these sorts of questions are ones we like.
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#9 BattlFrog  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:37 AM

Interesting, I was thinking about this very subject whilst in the shower a couple weeks ago. I was wondering what will happen with progress in Computer Science when the first and second generation of masters dies out? Us newbies are so pampered with frameworks, IDEs and millions of code snippets online, that it makes one beg the question, where are the new thinkers?

I guess what I am asking is, in a few years when the pioneers are gone or retired, will the current generation be curious enough to keep pushing us forward? :sad3:
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#10 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:54 AM

View PostBattlFrog, on 20 June 2013 - 11:37 AM, said:

Interesting, I was thinking about this very subject whilst in the shower a couple weeks ago. I was wondering what will happen with progress in Computer Science when the first and second generation of masters dies out?


This has already happened... so far, we seem to struggle on.

Quote

I guess what I am asking is, in a few years when the pioneers are gone or retired, will the current generation be curious enough to keep pushing us forward? :sad3:/>



Dunno. Will you?
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#11 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:07 AM

I actually covered this topic awhile ago on my blog. I argued that there are a few things to be said on doing it by hand. While some tools are bad at code generation (dreamweaver) and others are good (like Microsoft's tools mentioned) the end result is that you are still going to have to go in by hand and modify all the pieces to address what you are doing... at least 99% of the time.

That is why it is important that people learn what their tools are doing and all the pieces it is touching. It is ok to use such tools as long as you know what they are doing and it is only saving you time having to do it yourself. What we don't want to happen is that the generated code goes unchecked and out into the world. That will lead to bugs and security exploits.

My blog article is at http://www.coderslex...oding-too-easy/

:)
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#12 slehmann101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:15 AM

I think that it is perfectly fine as long as people know what they are doing. I think the problem lies with people not understanding it. This can be seen with the drag and drop editor for android layouts supplied by google
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#13 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:22 AM

View PostMartyr2, on 20 June 2013 - 01:07 PM, said:

I actually covered this topic awhile ago on my blog.


You make a good point in there which is worth pulling out for this discussion: automated tools do make DRY violations far too easy. Why bother to make your code neat and tight and modular if you're not actually writing it?
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#14 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 06:03 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 20 June 2013 - 01:22 PM, said:

View PostMartyr2, on 20 June 2013 - 01:07 PM, said:

I actually covered this topic awhile ago on my blog.


You make a good point in there which is worth pulling out for this discussion: automated tools do make DRY violations far too easy. Why bother to make your code neat and tight and modular if you're not actually writing it?


+1 to that. I work primarily in VIM, and if someone says I'm maintaining/remaking a website made in Dreamweaver or Frontpage my consulting rate just doubled.

IDEs are to me a very powerful tool when used in the right hands of a seasoned coder. When in the hands of a newbie, they're a vicious crutch that abstract them too far from actually learning the code. Why a crutch? Kick it out from under them and tell them to code in ANYTHING else and they fall over flat on their faces most times.
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#15 AVReidy  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do Development Tools Make It Too Easy

Posted 20 June 2013 - 06:53 PM

I think IDEs are okay. Some people enjoy getting to know the operating system through the terminal and consider that a fundamental part of the software development process, and others prefer to focus more exclusively on the algorithms and actual program structure. When I first start out with a technology, I tend to reject the easy interface for the terminal, but once I understand a bit more behind the scenes, I welcome IDEs and feel no shame clicking "Compile" or "Make JAR file."

When you think about it, the fact that things are getting easier is good. We're still using the same logic to solve problems, so tools like IDEs actually help people learn the one part of the process that can't be entirely automated: writing code. It might be a faster process these days, but it's certainly no easier as far as problem solving goes.
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