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Re: Recommended editor for novice programmers?

Nick Boyce <nick@steelyglint.org> writes:

> I don't like to confess to my august and more sophisticated colleagues
> here how much code I've written using joe - albeit in the simpler
> languages (a variety of Bash scripts, Perl, C, HTML and similar).

Joe is a fine text editor licensed as free software. I say that as
someone who has decided I don't like to use it myself.

To paraphrase someone else paraphrasing Voltaire: I may disagree with
your choice of text editor, but I will defend to the death your right to
use it.

So, go ahead and admit how much you like Joe and how much code it has
allowed you to write. If anyone has a problem with your usage of Joe for
programming, they have me to answer to :-)

Here's where I need to object:

> I don't want to provoke any religious war here, and sorry if I offend
> anybody, but:

That doesn't alter the fact that you've disparaged programs in terms
that state an absolute problem inherent to the program. This is not
helpful, because it implies that people who choose those programs are
wrong and should be disparaged themselves.

For example:

> emacs is ridiculously heavy-weight

That's an absolute statement of objective fact. Do you think it is true
for everyone? You have expressed it as though you do.

You are, in this expression, saying that people who use Emacs deserve
ridicule because Emacs is so obviously heavy-weight they should be
embarrassed to use it. That's needlessly hostile.

You can, instead, say what *you don't like* about the program:

> and I can never remember whether exit is Ctrl_C Ctrl_X or Ctrl_X
> Ctrl_C (yes practice would help)

That's great! Thank you for stating your position here in terms of what
you are and are not able to do. This doesn't judge anyone else as

> vi's power makes light work of many tasks but it's as user-friendly as
> a cornered rat ... novices usually remember their first time trying to
> find out how to exit with a genuine shudder.

This gets too far into stating objective fact. How do you know the
“usual” experience of novice Vi users, have you surveyed a statistically
powerful sample?

I appreciate that it can be fun to rant about difficulties using
programs, and Emacs and Vi are favourite topics of this sort. We can,
and should, do so without also dismissing other people as inferior.

When you acknowledge the possibility of provoking offense, it is on your
shoulders to either express yourself in ways that *don't* implicitly
disparage people with different preferences.

Either that, or don't provoke at all :-)

Have fun, everyone, using whatever text editors make your life better.

 \       “My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves |
  `\              to fact, not to try and make facts harmonise with my |
_o__)                   aspirations.“ —Thomas Henry Huxley, 1860-09-23 |
Ben Finney

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