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GUI Programming

The History of Visual Development Environments 181

Esther Schindler writes "There was a time when programs were written in text editors. And when competition between C++ vendors was actually fierce. Step into the time travel machine as Andy Patrizio revisits the evolution and impact of the visual development metaphor. 'Visual development in its earliest stages was limited by what the PC could do. But for the IBM PC in the early 1980s, with its single-tasking operating system and 8- or 16-bit hardware, the previous software development process was text edit, compile, write down the errors, and debug with your eyes.' Where do you start? 'While TurboPascal launched the idea of an integrated development environment, [Jeff] Duntemann credits Microsoft's Visual Basic (VB), launched in 1991, with being the first real IDE.'... And yes, there's plenty more." A comment attached to the story lists two IDEs that preceded VB; can you name others?
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The History of Visual Development Environments

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  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:15AM (#42796731) Homepage

    "There was a time when programs were written in text editors."

    Yeah , 5 minutes ago when I finished updating some code.

    Plenty of unix C/C++/script/python coders still use vi and emacs. Just because IDEs rule the roost in Windows and Java development, don't assume every coder users or even requires them.

  • Hypercard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spectre ( 1685 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:26AM (#42796859)

    When I think of "visual programming" the first thing I think of is Hypercard ... I was at uni when that came out, so late 80's?

  • Define IDE (Score:4, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:30AM (#42796927) Homepage Journal

    ...because the ZX80 (and ZX81 and Sinclair Spectrum, which used more advanced versions of the same BASIC) had a visual editor with keywords auto-completed and dynamic syntax checking back in 1980. ZX BASIC was even windowed (on a 32x24 character screen!) with the upper window being for program I/O and/or viewing the program code, the lower for entering commands, seeing status information, and editing lines.

    The thing about an IDE is that it's an obvious concept and pretty much anyone who's tried to make programming more user friendly has implemented such a thing. True, NetBeans looks nothing like the ZX80 or EMACS, but then Java in 2013 looks nothing like ZX BASIC either - as languages have evolved and projects have become more complex, the tools to manage them have needed to become more complex and manage more concepts.

    What's funny is that we bothered giving the concept a name at an arbitrary cut-off point in the development of development environments.

  • by _anomaly_ ( 127254 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:33AM (#42796969) Homepage
    I disagree. The very best are very good at determining the best tool for the job.
    I'd absolutely hate to attempt to build a database application supposed to run in a windowing environment, with emphasis on UI/user experience, using any of the best text editors.
  • Ahahahaah!!! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:49AM (#42797139)

    > A comment attached to the story lists two IDEs that preceded VB; can you name others?

    A comment attached to the story lists two spacecraft that preceded the Space Shuttle; can you name others?
    Oh God... Am i REALLY this old???

  • by Motard ( 1553251 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @12:33PM (#42797749)

    No, because I'd be wasting time reinventing things that have no business being reinvented. Using common controls such as those in the VCL encourage code re-use. While you are (re)designing a declarative language, I will be implementing more features.

    And there's a reason why IDE's tend to be tightly bound to a platform. All of the cross platform solutions turned out to be inferior because they were limited to the lowest common denominator. Applications that aren't so limited work better because they take atvantage of all the features of the environment and fit better within it. This is why Apple limited iOS apps to native apps.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.