2013/11/27

IDE builds are inherently broken

An internal email list contribution I made today that I thought deserved to be here.

In my opinion software systems that require an Eclipse (or any other IDE) build are inherently broken. If you can't script your system's build - using ant, maven, gradle, python, whatever - without requiring someone to first install an IDE and get that working, then I claim you don't really understand what it is you are building.

IDE's make stuff real easy. I depend on them too for what they are good at. But at the end of the day I want a repeatable process. One that I can come back to months later or in some different environment or hand to someone else. So I want a single 'script', with the fewest external dependencies, that sets up the necessary environment and gives me a working system from scratch. You can fix broken proxy bits in the IDE if you must (if for no other reason so you can update the IDE or add plugins.)  But I believe if your software is worth anything you should spend the time, as you are developing it, to incrementally understand how to add just the necessary pieces: what is the minimum set of libraries, what are their dependencies, what are the environment variables, etc.  Anything less is just hacking.

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