January 30, 2005 tools

Awaiting and Dreading Subtext

If you follow the link to the subtext demo that Preston Bannister mentions, you’ll see my idea of hell, i.e. manipulating code primarily with a mouse. Have you ever seen those guys — you know who I mean — those guys that want to copy a chunk of code and reach for the mouse, almost select the text, almost select the text again, finally select the text they want, go to the Edit menu, choose Copy, click on the place near where they want the code to be, click again, finally click in the right place, go to the Edit menu and choose Paste and by that time, you’ve died of old age? It’s all I can do not to tackle these people so I can use the combinations of Ctrl, Shift, Alt and the arrows to select the text and move the cursor to the spot where it belongs, using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V, never touching the mouse, like BillG intended.

So, watching the subtext demo, which was nearly all copy and paste using the mouse made me want to tackle the guy doing the demo, especially since I couldn’t run it at a higher speed (my very favorite WMP feature).

On the other hand, I loved the idea of the code always being executed with live, example data to show me instant code coverage and I loved the idea of the code always being executable. If I could get a structured editor that let me copy and link using the keyboard (and it used some language I could actually ship, at least in some transformation mode), I’d use it in a heartbeat.