Tuesday 20 December 2011

Well, that was fast.

Like many of you, I expect, I take a good look around at tools like editors when my needs change dramatically. A new system, or a language or app type I haven't worked with in a while, and I'll go out and see what the community is using (or at least buzzing about), narrow that down to a list of 2 or 3 to try, and start trying them out. Usually, I'll try one for a few days and then switch to the next one for a few days, until I've got lists of things I like and don't like, and make a decision. The last time I took a serious look at this was a couple of years ago, when I shelled out for Komodo IDE (which I still enthusiastically recommend to PHP developers in particular, by the way).

Recently, I've started working again intensely with Ruby, on a Mac instead of Linux as years earlier, and some quick research looking around mailing lists, group archives, and such, strongly suggested that TextMate was The Gold Standard.

But I'd never really done a head-to-head comparison, and I knew that BBEdit and RubyMine had passionate evangelists in the community.

So I downloaded the 30-day eval of RubyMine and fired it up.

I tried to open a Git project that I've worked with extensively in TextMate and from the Git command line. One immediate issue: copy-and-paste between the Mac pasteboard and the edit fields in the RubyMine dialog did not work. I then opened the project directory using RubyMine's "open a directory" feature; it found Git all right, but gave half a dozen red flags and refused to work further.

"What could cause such a reputed package to crap out so completely," I asked myself as I started browsing around inside the app directory. The answer became quickly obvious.

"Oh, it's a Java app." No native UI at all — though to be honest, you have to look closely at the UI widgets to tell.

It took less time to install the app, have it flame out, and uninstall it than it did to write this post.

The sooner we either a) rid the desktop world of Java or b) get the Java community to adopt usable desktop interoperability, the better. I'm years past the point where I care which option is selected, but one had better be.

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