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I couldn't disagree more with this. I use what is IMO the gold standard for IDEs now - IntelliJ. One of its most undersold features is online static analysis. I've spent a lot of time working with Java and I actually study the language to a pretty deep level, but it still catches many, many bugs from stupid (== instead of equals) to very subtle (errors in initialisation order in the presence of overloading, synchronisation issues etc). I've actually learnt a lot about the language by using the tool.

I also can't speak highly enough about quickfixes. The ide presents me with a problem, and then makes it very easy to fix without having to think about all the crappy mechanics of doing so. If it's a common issue I can fix it all through my file, or all through my project. What is really amazing about this (as well as all the syntax-aware editing functionality) is that once you're good at it, you're no longer editing text, you're directly manipulating the AST at a very semantic level - and not just of a single file, but of your whole project. At the risk of gushing a little, this raised level of editing really contributes to my joy of programming because I'm actually directly manipulating turning my mental design into code. I would like to humbly suggest that people who say that you only need this functionality with crippled languages really don't know what they're missing out on.

Has this removed my ability to program Java in, say, Textmate or vi? No, although I'd have to re-learn so many basic, low level manipulation tasks that there's no way I could stand it. It doesn't remove my ability to develop using these editors, it removes my desire to.




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