The Edit And Continue Debate Rages On

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Looks like Jeff Atwood is not content to let dead dogs lie when he revisits Edit and Continue.

Jeff argues that those decrying E&C are promoting a culture of machismo which implicitely states that “Everyone Should Code The Way We Do”.

As I stated in his comments, I think the real argument is not whether or not E&C is dangerous, but whether it should have a higher priority than other features introduced into VS.NET when the discussion first started.

I am not against E&C as I see it as a tool that can be used or abused like any other. When I was a VB programmer back in the day, I found it helpful at times while debugging a unit test. Rather than endure a compile and re-run unit test cycle that could take a couple minutes, I could simply fix a dumb typo in stride and continue on. I didn’t need it, but used responsibly, it saved me time in certain situations.

However, I wonder if there may have been other features that Microsoft could have focused on that would have been more worthwhile than E&C. When using test driven development practices, I find the need to use E&C greatly reduced. Unit tests provide a bigger bang for my development buck in writing better code. If I had a say in it, I would have suggested that Microsoft really focus on getting the test driven development story right, which they’ve completely failed at so far.

So again, for me it is not a question of whether E&C is useful, I believe it is, but whether it has pushed aside more useful features. What do you think?

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6 responses

  1. Avatar for Simone Chiaretta
    Simone Chiaretta February 6th, 2006

    Also, it works almost only with VB.NET.. not C#...

  2. Avatar for Scott
    Scott February 6th, 2006

    Hmmmm, I'd rather MS spent more time making sure the IDE doesn't leak memory like a 2-year old with a runny nose before working on any new features. ;)

    Heck, I'd be satisfied if they just included some kind of backwards compatibility with 2K3 web projects. Maybe an emulation mode. I know the ASP.NET team is releasing a web projects add-on, but I don't think that's intended to address the migration issues.

  3. Avatar for Joe Brinkman
    Joe Brinkman February 6th, 2006

    E&C is a vb feature because the VB team coded it. They would no more fix bugs in the IDE than they would resolve issues in MS Office. While I would rather have seen them spend time on VB refactoring, I am kinda glad they didn't since now I use CodeRush/Refactor which is way more powerful than most of Microsofts attempts at IDE enhancements.

    People who don't understand the need for E&C seem to forget the big stink a lot of well known VB'ers made when VB.Net was released. Microsoft is still trying to make the migration from VB6 to VB.Net easier since there are still many apps and developers stuck in that world. If all you know is E&C and VB6, then it is an important feature and shouldn't be discounted just because many people who made the jump a long time ago no longer need the feature.

  4. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked February 6th, 2006

    I think the discussion is around wether or not to add it to C#. Isn't it?

  5. Avatar for Don Demsak
    Don Demsak February 6th, 2006

    XLINQ's XML Literal in VB9 will be the next Edit and Continue like debate. Do you have an opinion on it, or is it still too far out for you to have an opinion?

    Currently it is a VB only thing, and I'm going to do my best to keep it that way.

  6. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked February 6th, 2006

    I don't yet have an opinion. Unlike E&C, there isn't much in the way of "reports from the field" to reference.

    If they introduce it to C#, I'll probably take a closer look.