I Hate Typing!

Those who have worked with me in the past know I have a favorite mantra that drives a lot of what I do: “I hate typing!” Now, after 20+ years working on computers, I can type pretty fast. But I can still think faster than I can type and that frustrates me at times. Mind you sometimes the extra sober thought between keystrokes has saved me from implementing the odd bad idea.

But this is the main driver for me when building tools. I find that the best tools are those that allow me to express my ideas by the fastest means possible. I have spent a lot of my tooling career building code generators for visual modeling tools, especially state machines. I’ve generated a lot of code relative to the number of user gestures. Customers loved it and I think it is still the best example of getting ideas into your software faster than you can type in the code. Hopefully as the Eclipse modeling tools grow, we’ll see more of this.

In the meantime, we are still pretty much left to probably the most imporant tools that we have in our tool chest, the programming languages. People who work with me also know that “I hate Java”. Yes, it’s an evil irony that I have spent the last 5 years being a Java programmer. As the JDT adds more accelerators, like more complicated content assists and refactoring, I hate Java less. But there are just some concepts that I find hard to express in Java, like complicated memory mapped binary files like I have with the PDOM, the CDT’s new index, and I just find I have to do a lot of typing to do what I need to do.

As I learn more about C#, the more I realize that it comes the closest to the way I want to work. It has the best of Java such as garbage collection and anonymous functions (anonymous classes in Java). Plus, it gives you the best of C++, such as stack allocated structs and operator overloading. And, if you don’t feel like playing it “safe” you can actually do pointers and take more control over your memory. I have no immediate need to use C# for my work time, so learning it has to be relegated to hobby time, which I have precious little of these days. But it would be interesting to see how fast I can get my ideas into code without typing so much.