Eclipse Favored Over Visual Studio in Online Poll

Online opinion polling site asked the question, “What is your favorite IDE?”

The results were interesting and unexpected enough to rate an eWeek article. The results stacked up this way:

54% Eclipse
15.5% Visual Studio
11.5% Text editor

Some other IDE’s, like NetBeans, IntelliJ IDEA (?), and Dreamweaver (a surprisingly low 1.5%), rounded out the list.

I was not surprised Eclipse ranked so highly. The more I use Eclipse (for HTML, PHP, Python, and a variety of other things), the more I like it. What I’m looking for in an IDE is to make my life easier. Eclipse projects seem to strike just the right balance of convenience without taking anything away from the developer. It helps me write code, but I’m still the one writing the code, I know exactly what is going on with my applications, where everything is, what everything does, and Eclipse doesn’t do anything without me telling it to. Perfect.

I was a bit surprised by how Visual Studio fared in the poll, not because I particularly like it - I don’t - but it’s Microsoft’s preferred .NET development environment it’s very popular, and people generally like what they know. Visual Studio didn’t rate very much higher than a text editor. Why is that?

I tend to agree with Charles Petzold in his funny piece Does Visual Studio Rot the Mind? I run in to a lot of .NET developers that simply don’t know much about .NET, much in the way a lot of Frontpage users often don’t know a whole lot about….well, a whole lot (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, web servers, etc.). That isn’t always the case, but it happens quite often. It isn’t necessarily their fault - the VS IDE does its darndest not to let the user know how any of it works. IMHO, that’s not what most developers are looking for. Which is why I think a lot of developers don’t like Visual Studio, even if they use it - hence the surprising results of this poll.

If you’re doing .NET development on Windows, try the Express editions of Visual Studio. I find them to be easier, faster, and less intrusive than full blown Visual Studio, and they’re free. If you’re on Linux and you want to try .NET, MonoDevelop for Mono (C#) is pretty nice.