"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

True Advances?

I pointed out that the single most important productivity tool in modern languages is intellisense... without it, he can't hope to pull the language into the '90s.

What made me most productive in the 1980's was Lisp and Smalltalk. What made me most productive in the 1990's was Smalltalk. After the Java "revolution" (which made me less productive) what made me somewhat productive was the Internet search engine (Hotbot, then Google, IIRC).

How so? Javadocs. Looking up API information was faster on the net than on my hard drive once the spiders had indexed so many Javadocs.

I've used Intellisense-like features in Lisp environments since 1981. They *are* handy. I don't think I ever used anything like it in a Smalltalk tool. For one thing, Smalltalk uses keyword messages, which are in themselves descriptive. I think this reduces the need for Intellisense.

Frankly though the other aspects of Lisp and Smalltalk environments were more productive than Intellisense per se in a Java-like language. Primarily, the languages themselve are just simpler *and* more expressive. Secondarily, the source to the systems is present at the click of the mouse. (Or Meta-dot key stroke.) Thirdly, all the other sorts of browsers, workspaces, inspectors, debuggers.

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About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.