The Little iPrince

Some years ago my neighbour confessed to me that he disliked Eclipse. Instead of one big and complicated application he would prefer small and simple applications. In a small city it is easier to find one’s way than in a big city, isn’t it? Probably The Little Prince never lost his way on his small planet. By now the iPhone and the iPad have satisfied my neighbour’s wish: thousands of small iOS apps and most of them easy to use.

Steve Jobs as The Little iPrince

I also use my iPad many times a day to check my e-mails, to read blog posts, and to browse the web. I really like it but I wish my iPad had fewer restrictions. And I am not talking about the restrictions in developing and shipping apps but especially about usability limitations. In contrast to my neighbour I like the Eclipse IDE especially because of the ‘I’ in IDE – the Integrated Development Environment assists me really well in my daily work. Imagine, you as a developer have to fix a simple typo in the UI of your application. In order to fix it you will probably use a web browser to access the bug tracking system, a version control system to get the code, a search tool to find the file, an editor to correct it and, last but not least, an operating system to run all these application, and many times you’ll have to switch from one to another application. With Eclipse (also without Mylyn) you will get your work done faster and you will make fewer errors.

In the past decades all operating system have been built on the desktop metaphor: if you (double-)click a file then the associated application will be started. Different types of data require different applications. Even as a non-developer you’ll end up with many simultaneously running applications, e.g. e-mail, web browser, PDF viewer, word-processing, etc. I wish the operation systems would be more like Eclipse and there would be feature stores instead of app stores. Every time when I want to look up a word in Wikipedia or in a dictionary or when I want to see a mail and the attached document or a web site side-by-side in my iPad, I ask myself when will the lower-case ‘i’ become an upper-case ‘I’?

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