Mar 11, 2010

Rethinking the IDE

Aymeric posted a link on the Readify internal tech list today showing a fresh approach to navigating code in an IDE. Here’s the link:

And here’s the YouTube vid to save you clicking through.

It’s a really novel and interesting idea and one I would absolutely love to see working in Visual Studio 2010.  Given that 2010 uses WPF under the hood and has a great extensibility model, I think it’s entirely do-able, though not something I’d take on myself.  I wonder just how much it would change the way we approach common conventions such as one class per files when the IDE effectively removes the whole source file concept allowing you to focus solely on your classes and their methods.

Kudos to Andrew Bragdon for coming up with this. It begs the question then… If you had to rethink the IDE what crazy, out of the box ideas would you come up with?


  1. Pretty cool idea, and I had the same idea as you. That is since VS2010 already integrates WPF it should be possible to create a bubble view instead of a file based view.

  2. Neat. My initial geek reaction was how cool does that look. Then I came back to reality and wondered if or what would be the real productivity gains in such an approach? It will be interesting to see if it gains any traction in the wild.

    As for crazy ideas for rethinking the IDE...extend the concept a little further with Windows 7 multi-touch and we nearly have Minority Report programming. Even better how about taking project Natal for the Xbox and have us wave our arms and legs around furiously in coding gestures. Can you imagine the extra dimension that would add to pairs programming. Ok. I'd better stop now before I say something really silly or think seriously about starting a codeplex project.

  3. @Andrew Not sure about the natal interface. Could you imagine hitting a particularly gnarly problem, reaching back to scratch your head or burying your face in your hands as you wonder who wrote the code you're look at and finding you'd accidentally deleted everything :-)

    The multitouch idea is quite nice though.