Saturday, February 14, 2009

Intellisense vs Intellinonsense

99 times out of 100 I am a Visual Studio zealot.  IMO it has been hands down the best end to end IDE for ages.  Sure, it has bloated areas.  There a a million little quibbles.  There are the “less is more” people who argue for some of the more simplistic and light weight editors out there.  I have no problem with any of those arguments.  I’m simply saying that feature for feature, implementation for implementation VS pretty much gets it right.  And where it doesn’t the plug-in gurus take care of business.  VS typically makes it much simpler to implement challenging configurations.  And those previously mentioned plug-in guys make it simple to install and use plug-ins.  The result is a very, very friendly and helpful development process.

Here comes the HOWEVER… NetBeans has made major strides over the last year.  I mean MAJOR strides.  6.5 is really becoming, or I probably should say now is a great IDE experience.  And that brings us to the point of this post.  Javascript intellisense.  VS has been really weak in that area.  There is finally some rudimentary support for it now.  It takes a hotfix and a bunch of twiddly standing on one foot with a piece of tin foil sticking out of your left ear, waving your right hand counter-clockwise while holding your pinky thusly.  This is usually what I think of using the various Java IDE’s when it comes to trying to develop a J2EE app for the various web platforms out there.  It’s the programmers version of poking hot pokers in your eyes for fun and profit.

For the first time ever while using a Java oriented IDE I was truly floored by a simply awesome implementation a feature.  And that would be the Javascript intellisense in NetBeans.  This same setup may be in other java IDE’s, but I haven’t tried this in any of the others yet.  Anyhow, take a look at this snapshot:


There are so many little things here.  In the method signature line it lets us know very clearly which library the method/function is from.  In the doc pop-up at the bottom it tells us which browsers are supported!!  Notice the IE icon is grayed out.  That’s because none of the targeted versions of IE support this capability (supposedly, but that’s a different blog post).


In miscellaneous options you can target which browser versions you want to validate as well as set what version of JS you want to validate.  And the big key is, other than those check boxes, I didn’t have to configure a darn thing.  It just worked.

I know some of you out there are just fine with VI or EMACS and think intellisense is for sissies.  I bow to your superior gray matter validation and signature recognition system.  I however, can’t remember Jack s### or his brother Dave for that matter.  So, this kind of feature is absolute GOLD.

So, come on you VS brain trust dudes.  Let’s get Javascript support corrected in VS as soon a possible.

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