Why I Don’t Like IDEs

julia> using Pkg

julia> Pkg.add("Foobar")

When to Use a GUI

The whole appeal of a graphical interface is that the operations you can perform at any given time are visible and easily discoverable.

Inflexible Monoliths

So may issue is not graphics user interfaces, but the usage of complex interfaces, which try to do too much.

Negative IDE Anecdotes

One of the accusations against many of us that don’t like IDEs is that we have never really tried one. We are all just a bunch of unix neckbeards that have been stuck in Vim of Emacs forever. In fact I don’t use either of those editors. I actually like having a proper GUI, so I use TextMate.

What About Code Completion and Code Navigation?

It is a common misconception that generic code editors don’t offer code completion or code navigation.

Text vs GUI

GUIs make it easy to discover functionality given that complexity is low. However if you need automation or complexity is high then text based interfaces often begin to shine.


The alternative to using an IDE is to use a collection of more generic tools. The benefits of this is:

  • More flexibility in mixing and matching the tools you prefer.
  • Ability to reuse the same tools for more projects.
  • You knowledge and skills don’t become obsolete as quickly.



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Erik Engheim

Erik Engheim

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.