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No IDE Wars, Just Love

We have heard, and read and written so much about IDE wars, but we never got to consent. And I thought to myself, maybe we are thinking in wrong terms? Maybe it’s not about wars? Since all wars are human-made, they all have their background and reasons. Don’t we know multiple historical facts when people started wars because of … love? And doesn’t this entire buzz look like a war based on a deep love? Let’s try to look at our life with IDEs from this perspective.

A developer and an IDE are like a loving couple where developer loves the IDE, and the IDE returns its good for the feeling.

A proverb says that all lucky couples are lucky in the same manner, while all unlucky ones are unlucky differently.

When asking why a developer uses one or another IDE, the answer, in most cases, is simple – he or she is lucky with it. And while people are lucky, you will never succeed in converting them to another IDE. It’s like arguing about whose girl- or boyfriend is better. They are already engaged. Why bother?

At this point, the question “To war, or not to war” could be closed; but only for those who already love and are lucky…

What about those who are not? They may even never complain, because they don’t know they are unlucky. It’s like trying to convince an old bachelor, that being married (or in our terms “engaged with an IDE”) is better than being single. Words - the main weapons in the IDE wars - will not work. Only a disturbingly happy face of a married brother, or neighbor, or colleague, can potentially lead to mind-change.

So, we have only one group left – those who are unlucky and admit this sad fact. But – there’s always some ‘but’ in between - if they complain, complains will almost never be around the same problems, as the proverb says that unluckiness is always different.
And here’s the starting point for what we used to call wars - wars for obtaining admirers, or in other words wars for love. Still love... It’s all about love…

Did anyone succeed in being loved by struggling? Maybe… Not many… How to make people love you? Either they love you just because you are as you are, or they love you because you become as they want you to be. No other way. Same with IDEs – some developers love an IDE just “because”, others don’t, and won’t until it becomes as they’d love it to be.
So, where’s the way out, for an IDE implicated in a war? Keep being what you are; keep getting better, for new love to be born in someone’s heart; finally become a “bachelor’s wife” :-)

That’s it! No wars, just love!


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I agree whole heartedly use what works best. I love the tools I use, I use them because I know them and love them. I get tired of hearing "Oh you use that?!? OMG you should only use... and all. There's a perfect tool for every job, so let's not use a pipe wrench to change a spark plug. :)

Personally I think most of the "IDE wars" is sort of a hype, same as there used to be an emacs-vs.-vi "editor war" on Unix systems, the KDE-vs.-GNOME "desktop war" on current Linux distributions, the Java EE vs. Spring - "framework war" in parts of the Java community ... and so on. Some care about, some don't. And those who do have some work to be done will choose the tools of their trade depending upon a whole load of different, partly rather personal, reasons (licensing, availability, "look-and-feel", ease-of-use, resource consumption, support for technology X or framework Y, ...). Being a dev team leader myself, the most important lesson I learnt from that so far is not to force too many tools down someones throat but just do define a lowest common denominator to make things somewhat interoperable. For that, we have switched to maven2 as build / dependency management tool and svn for keeping the sources, and atop this, people are free to use whichever tool they want. Some use NetBeans (including myself), some use Eclipse, some use a plain text editor, some could use IntelliJ one day. It's not the tool that matters - it's what people use it for. ;)
best regards,

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