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I am now using almost an IDE

I have long been a pro­po­nent of sim­ple text ed­i­tors.

Not for me was emac­s, with its mul­ti­tude of modes and mag­i­cal elisp code to do ev­ery­thing.

Not even vim with its mul­ti­tude of ex­ten­sions achiev­ing mag­i­cal pro­duc­tiv­i­ty with three key­strokes.

Not even would I use the ubiq­ui­tous jet­brains IDE with mag­ic refac­tor­ing that writes code on its own.

No, for twen­ty years or so I have writ­ten my code us­ing a plain text ed­i­tor. Un­til re­cent­ly, that meant kwrite. Not even kate. Kwrite, the one that is slight­ly more pow­er­ful than notepad.

But then I got a new job, and ev­ery­one us­es an IDE so I start­ed think­ing... I must be miss­ing some­thing.

Be­cause if ev­ery­one is do­ing it dif­fer­ent­ly from you, then one of the fol­low­ing things is like­ly to be true:

  • ev­ery­one is wrong
  • it's pure­ly an opin­ion thing and it does­n't mat­ter much
  • you are miss­ing out

You know you are old once you as­sume the first. Since I am go­ing through some sort of weird mid life cri­sis I am forc­ing my­self to choose the last op­tion most of the time. So, I start­ed try­ing out stuff. Which is why I no longer use bash. Or uni­ty. Or KDE. But those are sto­ries for some oth­er bon­fire, this one is about my text ed­i­tor midlife cri­sis.


It's huge. And slow. Like, re­al­ly slow. And the ex­ten­sion qual­i­ty is very un­even. For ex­am­ple, all the ter­mi­nals felt wrong.

Once it start­ed drag­ging af­ter be­ing open for a cou­ple of days... well, I re­moved it and smug­ly went back to my old work­flow.

And then I tried...


The ex­ten­sion qual­i­ty was soooo much bet­ter! And some are just awe­some. The way you can choose a vir­tualenv in­ter­preter for a project is awe­some.

Com­pared to Atom it's down­right snap­py!

The on­ly things I did not like were:

  • So much mag­ic in place, some­times things on­ly worked in the IDE.
  • Too slow to start, so I still had to use a plain text ed­i­tor for ca­su­al ed­it­s.
  • At one point, things start­ed to rot, and func­tions that had been work­ing fine start­ed to mis­be­have.

So then I had my goldie­locks mo­men­t...


I was ex­pect­ing to hate it. It's called Vis­ual Stu­dio! It comes from Mi­crosoft! It's elec­tron-based like Atom!

Yet, I loved it at first sight.

Not go­ing to go over many de­tails be­cause I am not in the busi­ness of con­vinc­ing peo­ple of things but here are some of the high­light­s:

  • Good python sup­port, in­clud­ing vir­tualen­vs, for­mat­ting, au­to­com­plete, refac­tor­ing, de­bug­ger, etc.
  • Good Go sup­port.
  • Nice ter­mi­nal gad­get! Ctr­l+click to open files men­tioned in the ter­mi­nal!
  • Good mark­down/reSt sup­port in­clud­ing pre­views
  • The "com­pared to work­ing tree" view is ge­nious
  • If you run "vs­code some­file" in the ter­mi­nal, it opens in the cur­rent vs­code.
  • The set­tings mech­a­nism and UX are a great idea.
  • It's fast enough
  • The UI is fair­ly min­i­mal, so most of the time it will look like my pre­vi­ous work­flow used to look: two text files open side by side.
  • Test run­ner in­te­gra­tion is neat.
  • In Ubuntu you can install it as snap install vscode --classic ... takes all of 30 seconds. And it's updated forever.
  • Lots and lots and lots of de­cent qual­i­ty ex­ten­sion­s.

So, all in all it does all the things I liked from the IDE side of the uni­verse while not mak­ing the things I liked from text ed­i­tors less con­ve­nien­t. And that's why I use it now.


Cover for Cumulus


So, Al­pha­bet owns Uber and they are ac­tu­al­ly Way­mos. And Al­pha­bet is owned by this daugh­ter of chi­nese im­mi­grants that likes bas­ket­bal­l, and Steph Cur­ry is a druglo­rd. More or less that's the idea. Not re­al­ly my cup of tea, but not hor­ri­ble by any mean­s.

Books on this site

I read a lot, they tell me. And I do keep some­what slop­py records of what I read in goodread­s.­com ... I even some­times write short re­views of those books I read! But un­til now that con­tent was "over there" in­stead of be­ing "over here".

Sure, I could copy­/­paste ev­ery­thing one way or the oth­er and keep them in sync. But what sort of no-­good nerd would I be if I cre­at­ed a repet­i­tive task for my­self? An­swer: a very no-­good one.

So, I am au­tomat­ing it, and just be­cause why not, I am turn­ing it in­to a gener­ic "merge any ran­dom feed in­to your Niko­la site, even if it needs tweak­ing and the meta­da­ta you want is hid­den in ran­dom fields and then you need to re­for­mat the out­put so it looks sor­ta nice" via a Niko­la plug­in.

That plug­in is very much a WIP but as you can see in the goodreads tag it does work some­what, and it will get bet­ter over time.

You can see that plug­in here: http­s://­plu­g­in­s.get­niko­la.­com/v7/­con­tin­u­ous_im­port

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