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Thread: Is creating yet another IDE a good idea?

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    Default Is creating yet another IDE a good idea?

    I'd like to hear your opinion on what you think about creating yet another C++ IDE this time from Trolltech.
    Wouldn't it be better to put resources devoted now to Creator to better integrate Qt toolchain with existing IDEs?

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    Default Well ... no and yes

    No and yes.

    No in the sense that there is too much fragmentation already. You're quite right about that.

    Yes in the sense that Open Source IDEs still have a long way to go before they are as useful as e.g. the MS Visual product range, or Delphi. So there is room for improvement.

    Take KDevelop for one. I've worked quite a bit with KDevelop before becoming disenchanted with it. After all these years of development it's still nursing a galloping case of featuritis. As a result, its interface is a grab-bag of "ghee-wiz-look-we-can-do-this-too" gimmicks, which makes for a steep learning curve; various things that should be dead simple are still awkward (e.g. adding a lot of existing C++ files to a project), and vital things (like creation and handling of the whole make process) is still as transparent as mud, as well-documented as the average Alchemy recipe, and as about user-friendly as make ever was. Oh, and did I mention the general attitude of developers towards people who would like to see them polish the product before they add anything more? "Code it yourself" is just about the most positive and polite response you'll get.

    I strongly feel that GUIs and libraries like Qt are one place where the "Cathedral" approach is definitely better than the "Bazar" approach. In such cases I feel that developers should be disciplined enough (either by themselves or because a manager is politely insisting that they prioritize stuff) to polish something first before going on to the next bunch of interesting features.

    Editing and code navigation is OK in KDevelop though. However, KDevelop isn't available for MS Windows (queue rants about MS Windows here) whereas Qt Creator is, despite the fact that the framework basic to KDE (Qt) is available on both platforms. In addition Qt Creator edges towards the GUI-building prowess offered by e.g. Borland Delphi and MS products (and Java), but does so in a way that can be used on practically all platforms of importance: MS WIndows, MacOS, Linux, and various handhelds. KDevelop does not.

    Now if you can point me to an Open Source IDE that offers all that right now, *and* supports the Qt GUI builder process then I'd be interested.

    In the mean time I'm more than happy to be able to benefit from the Qt framework in a dependable and easy-to-learn (if a somewhat feature-limited) little IDE and still be confident I can port what I write to Linux or MacOS or whereever with little more than a recompile.

    That's why I personally feel that there is room for Qt Creator despite the wide range of existing tools.

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    Default Re: Well ... no and yes

    I can tell you something from an academic teacher and trainer point of view - Qt Creator made my life easier.

    Before switching to Creator I used KDevelop (version 3, I agree about every word about KDevelop4 said in the previous post) and it was (more or less) fine but Creator has many very nice and useful features when it comes to text editing. I treat it not as an IDE but a very advanced, yet extemely simple to use, C++ code editor. However I can say that its Designer integration module sucks. I prefer a standalone Designer over any integration.

    I don't think we will see any updates to Creator from Nokia - apart from some bugs that are probably there somewhere, the product (as a core) is practically feature complete. All that remains is that people start implementing plugins for it. The product was meant to be very simple and focused on code editing and in that field it leaves each of its competitors far behind.

    And it's more portable than any of its competitors (excluding vim and emacs-like solutions), Eclipse included.
    Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.

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    Default Re: Well ... no and yes

    There is hardly to say more!
    Quote Originally Posted by Golodh View Post
    Now if you can point me to an Open Source IDE that offers all that right now
    Well, define Open Source IDE because this sound quite open enough to me And isn't the creater published under the LGPL? Not sure..

    In the mean time I'm more than happy to be able to benefit from the Qt framework in a dependable and easy-to-learn (if a somewhat feature-limited) little IDE...
    I am just missing a code formatter, because I must confess: I am too lazy...

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    Default Re: Well ... no and yes

    Quote Originally Posted by Lykurg View Post
    I am just missing a code formatter, because I must confess: I am too lazy...
    Did you try selecting some text and pressing Ctrl+I?
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    Default Re: Well ... no and yes

    Quote Originally Posted by wysota View Post
    Did you try selecting some text and pressing Ctrl+I?
    That does the indent, but I mean all the stuff with spacing around braces, maximum line width, position of the "{" etc...

    EDIT: To be not too negative, the indent helps a lot, but still, ahh, a simple astyle plugin would have been nice.

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    Default Re: Well ... no and yes

    Oh, that one. Yeah, it's not there although this one is easy to implement. You can even write a plugin that will call an external formatter tool if you're lazy enough not to do the formatting yourself.
    Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.

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    Default Re: Well ... no and yes

    Quote Originally Posted by wysota View Post
    if you're lazy enough not to do the formatting yourself.
    Guilty

    But it is also because of that my preferences of my code design change from time to time (mostly from one to another and then back). I am such a happy-go-lucky fellow in that thing. And now I need chocolate to get in a better mood, after exposing my weakness and feeling quite terrible right now about that.

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    Default Re: Well ... no and yes

    You misunderstood me. I meant if you're lazy enough not to implement manual code formatting in the plugin you are going to write
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    Default Re: Well ... no and yes

    Quote Originally Posted by wysota View Post
    You misunderstood me. I meant if you're lazy enough not to implement manual code formatting in the plugin you are going to write
    Ah, ok, I see. Well then I will see if I can find some informations about the creator plugin API and code a little one - if I am able...

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    Default Re: Is creating yet another IDE a good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by piotr.dobrogost View Post
    I'd like to hear your opinion on what you think about creating yet another C++ IDE this time from Trolltech.
    Wouldn't it be better to put resources devoted now to Creator to better integrate Qt toolchain with existing IDEs?
    I agree with you. Yet another IDE is a waste of resources especially since there such a good alternative, namely Eclipse. Nokia is a member of Eclipse already and has in-house experience using Eclipse for other products. It would be much better to align Qt along this track.

    Qt Creator will be an insatiable hog that will eventually gobble up more resources than Qt itself. Having an own IDE maybe made sense in the Trolltech days but now it's a different ballgame. The strategically right thing would be to stop developments like they did with Qt Jambi.
    Last edited by uj; 29th June 2009 at 11:04.

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    Default Re: Is creating yet another IDE a good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by piotr.dobrogost View Post
    I'd like to hear your opinion on what you think about creating yet another C++ IDE this time from Trolltech.
    Wouldn't it be better to put resources devoted now to Creator to better integrate Qt toolchain with existing IDEs?
    There is no existing IDE in the area Qt Creator is targeting: Cross-platform, fast. Eclipse is the only one that's remotely cross-platform, and even with CDT, C++ is an alien there. I won't discuss speed for obvious reasons. MSVC is fast, but obviously not cross-platform. KDevelop is basically (non-Mac) Unix only as well. Then there are not too much serious contenders left, certainly none with a reasonably extentable architecture.

    Then, look at the existing Qt integrations into MSVC or Eclipse. They certainly ease the worst pain, but they still do not feel "right". And they have been worked on for years, by the same people that produce Qt. So I am tempted to believe that "just a but of polish" is not a technically feasible solution.

    Also, Creator is >95% cross platform code. Adding a feature means it is available cross-platform. "Integrating into existing IDEs" would mean duplicating, triplicating, ... a big part of the effort, plus the glue code needed to interface the respective IDEs. Plus the effort to solve "political" problems with the then-upstream "vendor", plus the effort to solve legal problems with the then-upstream "vendor". Multiplied by two, three, more. I really doubt that this is less effort in total.

    And there is another aspect, too. With Qt Creator the Trolls have an in-house "reality check" for the usability for the toolkit as such. Qt 4.0.x had serious scalability problems in some areas. I am pretty sure we would not have seen a few of them if there had been an in-house application of the size of Creator.

    So from my point of view the answer to your question is a clear "No".

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    Default Re: Is creating yet another IDE a good idea?

    I think developing yet another IDE would make sense, if the result was a long awaited, cross platform and fast IDE that actually aids C++ development with Qt. It makes me wonder why in 20 years of existence of C++ no such thing was developed. In comparison, the fairly new Java language can be edited with Eclipse so nicely that you have the impression you are not even writing the code yourself anymore. Rich and powerful refactoring tools, auto completion and code fix suggestions make it feel like you are pressing the O.K. button through a wizard that is generating your code automatically. Why doesn't such thing exist for C++?

    Personally I use Eclipse with Qt integration, because so far I found Eclipse to be a nice tool and I had my hopes high, that it would help me develop Qt code just as well. Well, I do miss the refactoring tools. It can't even rename a class in an automated way. But at least it integrates Designer (which I think works perfectly fine for my needs), automatically modifies the .pro file for me, has a CVS or SVN integration and the obligatory integration of project building and execution on the press of a button. And most importantly, I'm platform independet with it.

    I had my hopes high for Creator, because I'm very fond of Qt and the tools that come with it. So I gave it a shot and yes it looks really nice, but it doesn't really do anything you would expect from an IDE. I'm disappointed to hear that development won't be continued.

    I also tried MSVC and yes, it is by far the best C++ IDE I have ever seen. At least after several weeks when you got used to it, learned some shortcuts and know where to look for your settings. But I refuse to sacrifice the platform independence for it, so I went back to Eclipse + Qt integration and do more things manually.

  14. The following user says thank you to Cruz for this useful post:

    piotr.dobrogost (24th July 2009)

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    Default Re: Is creating yet another IDE a good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cruz View Post
    I'm disappointed to hear that development won't be continued.
    That's something new to me. Where do you have this information from?

    Very nice post, thanks.

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    Default Re: Is creating yet another IDE a good idea?

    he is wrong... Qt Creator is is very much alive and kicking

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    Default Re: Is creating yet another IDE a good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cruz View Post
    Well, I do miss the refactoring tools. It can't even rename a class in an automated way.
    What version do you use? Since "years" I use the refactoring tools for my C++ code. And it worked just fine. I won't miss them

    I use
    Eclipse C/C++ Development Tools
    Version: 6.0.0.200906161748
    Build id: 200906161748

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    Default Re: Is creating yet another IDE a good idea?

    Wysota said
    I don't think we will see any updates to Creator from Nokia
    , so that's why I assumed that development will be discontinued.

    And yes Lykurg, you are right! When I tried it first, I tried doing it the way I used to do in Java, taking the name of the class file as a starting point. I tried this in CDT a while ago and it only renamed the file but not the class, so I assumed it doesn't work. But now that you said that it should do it I looked more closely and hooray, I can refactor classnames now. So all the more, in my opinion Eclipse with Qt integration is currently the best solution available.

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    Default Re: Well ... no and yes

    Quote Originally Posted by wysota View Post
    I don't think we will see any updates to Creator from Nokia - apart from some bugs that are probably there somewhere, the product (as a core) is practically feature complete.
    If they think like you than I hope they'll put some serious effort into organizing and stimulating plugin development for creator.
    Without at least a handful of plugins making creator comfortable and feature complete ide I don't think creator's future is bright.

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    Default Re: Well ... no and yes

    Quote Originally Posted by Golodh View Post
    Now if you can point me to an Open Source IDE that offers all that right now, *and* supports the Qt GUI builder process then I'd be interested.
    What about Eclipse?

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    Default Re: Well ... no and yes

    Quote Originally Posted by piotr.dobrogost View Post
    What about Eclipse?
    Have you tried to use Eclipse for C++ development in earnest?

    Did you make any observations when it comes performing any "complex" operations, like auto completion or even just starting up?

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