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What are your favorite coding environments?

by xjar (Pilgrim)
on Nov 03, 2000 at 20:37 UTC ( #39844=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Last night, after business hours were over, I sat there with some code that I had written to create regex-like statements to exclude dates based upon a format and time frame given. I now had to plug this code into an existing application that got its data from another server... but I digress. After my coworker walked away from doing what he came to do, I decided that while finishing this part of the project I would crank up my MP3 player and blast music throughout the office. During a particularly powerful part of NiN's "Where Is Everybody?", I finished, got the output I had expected/hoped for, and realized my night of coding was at an end. Perhaps the music had something to do with it, but at that moment, I felt very in tune with the code, perhaps even a bit euphoric.

So I ask you this... what is your most productive/favorite coding environment (and I don't mean IDE's here)? Or perhaps, your least productive/favorite coding environment?

regards, xjar

  • Comment on What are your favorite coding environments?

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RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by arturo (Vicar) on Nov 03, 2000 at 20:50 UTC

    I like a place that's airy, plenty o' reference materials, and some music that I don't mind listening to but don't actively like. I find that I listen to music I like. It's also nice, I think, to be able to "think out loud" to another coder (even if they're not familiar with your favorite language, they can usually act as a kind of focus-enhancing reflecting mirror).

    Philosophy can be made out of anything. Or less -- Jerry A. Fodor

RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by cadfael (Friar) on Nov 03, 2000 at 20:51 UTC
    A comfortable, reclining armchair, Gregorian chants over the loudspeakers, an airpot of black premium coffee, and a 20" monitor.

    Time of day is not as important as when inspiration chooses to strike. Some of my most productive programming has been at 3 am, having awakened from a sound sleep with the solution to my latest problem coalescing in my consciousness. A shower and a 1.5 mile walk later, I am in my office working away.

    My understanding wife has grown used to this and finds it amusing.

    "Computeri non cogitant, ergo non sunt"

RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by jptxs (Curate) on Nov 03, 2000 at 20:55 UTC
    • 21" monitor
    • wheeled swivel chair
    • lots of water
    • just above visable breath temp
    • music i like low
    • books,books,books,books...
    • in another window somewhere just in case : )

    "sometimes when you make a request for the head you don't
    want the big, fat body...don't you go snickering."
                                             -- Nathan Torkington UoP2K a.k.a gnat

RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by little (Curate) on Nov 03, 2000 at 21:16 UTC
    The world is round and going round, so all things, questions and answers happen to occure again?!?
    So you might wan't to llok at A quiet place to code...
    But to me it's just:
    1. silence
    2. fast server and fast workstation
    3. tons of literature, e.g. books, tutorials and references
    4. no need to stop working cause the office would close

    Have a nice day
    All decision is left to your taste
RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by clemburg (Curate) on Nov 03, 2000 at 21:22 UTC

    Blank, big whiteboard, 2-3 other bright people, a difficult problem. Enough food, water and coffee. Toilets nearby. Fast, reliable testing environment with good automated test suite for fast feedback. No meeting schedules. Wife and children on vacation.

    Christian Lemburg
    Brainbench MVP for Perl

RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by japhy (Canon) on Nov 03, 2000 at 21:05 UTC
    I write code on paper during class. I'll be sitting in my DSA (data structures & algorithms) class, and the professor will be telling us about graph theory, and while everyone else takes notes, I'm working on that damn regex parser. Or coming up with ways of making linked lists and stacks and binary trees in C++ without the typical "node" idea.

    I can code anywhere, probably at any time. If I'm in bed, and an idea strikes me, I'll jot it down, even if it means I now have to try to fall asleep again.

    Music helps me "concentrate". Basically, if I'm in a good mood, code flows more freely. Music puts me in a good mood, even if it's Rage Against the Machine or Metallica. I think if I were working in complete silence, it'd be hard.

    I often come up with amazing ideas ($horn->toot) when I'm not at the computer -- playing foosball, or walking to class, or (this is the best) when I'm working out. I'll be lifting, and suddenly I have an idea, and I have to decide whether to keep working out and risk forgetting the idea, or taking a break to jot it down. Code is generally NOT something you'd take a break from lifting for, but who cares? ;)

RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by PsychoSpunk (Hermit) on Nov 03, 2000 at 21:59 UTC
    Two answers for me:

    I do my best development work away from the computer. I started this back in school whenever I would run up against a particularly hairy point in the code. Queue up a print job and, when I get a favorable reply from the print daemon (which happened invariably quick since I believed in using the line printer that spew out beautiful beige and green lined continuous pages :), get my printout and go outside with pen/printout and have a smoke. I'd look through the code, marking things up, talking to the world/myself, and puffin' a cig. I found that the time it took to smoke a cigarette was exactly long enough to get me into a different frame of reference and to see the problem in another way.

    So when I get back to my desk, with my headphones that block out the rest of the world, and music that reflects my mood (trance for creativity, industrial for debugging), the code just flows through me (don't dock me for the Force reference :) And of course, there's a while loop on this whole answer:

    while {!finished} { if (!problem) { goCode(); } else { goSmoke(); } }


(Guildenstern) RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by Guildenstern (Deacon) on Nov 03, 2000 at 21:01 UTC
    First off, I've got to have music. Depending on how the coding session is going I'll pick an appropriate playlist ranging from early Type O Negative to Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins. Listening to music that I actually pay attention to is not a very big distractor for me, and it often helps. Sometimes I'll be stuck at a problem, and I'll just jam out at my desk to a song and jump back in refreshed.
    As far as physical environment, I prefer to have the lights off, except for a reading light. Lots of desk space is a must so I can organize my various books and printouts.
    I've found that a beer or two usually helps me write (interesting) code. I've also learned to never write comments while drinking. I've still got some code that I have no idea what it does, and the comments look like they're written by the Swedish Chef.

    As far as least favorite environments, it would have to be sitting next to my cube mate who takes great delight in interrupting me every ten minutes to show me the newest TV ad he's found on rrrrr

    Negaterd character class uber alles!
RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by KM (Priest) on Nov 03, 2000 at 23:03 UTC
    I can code anytime, everywhere.. on a plane, on a boat, the sofa, the patio, and the floor. Since once I am coding, I generally get some sort of tunnel vision and all my world consists of his my computer (desktop or laptop). When music is on, I don't hear it and I forget that I am hungry. Hacking Perl is a very Zen activity for me, since when I am coding, I am coding.. period. So for me, whatever environment I am in is my favorite, because no matter where it is, I am hacking Perl.


    • Desktop over a tiny laptop is preferred because of the bigger keyboard and monitor
    • Emacs over any other means of editing and running the code --- thus the OS hardly comes into play
    • Early morning before anyone gets in versus the middle of the day when the traders are screaming death threats at the programmers... try and guess why I might like this :-)
RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by Blue (Hermit) on Nov 03, 2000 at 22:02 UTC
    Comfortable, big monitor, and uninterrupted. Music or other white noise (like the mutter at the office) is good for when I'm just doing a bit, but when I really hit he zone I tune out everything but the code.

    That's why comfortable - if I get a cramp or something, it'll force me out of the zone (stretch before coding? *grin*) Phones or people are just as bad. No interruptions!

    I like a big monitor because I like working on things side by side, maybe modifying source and running it next to each other, or calling up other related modules. At the very least I need some elbow room for notes/reference materials.

    Prefered is also a chunk of time where I don't have to watch the clock. Even if I don't code for long, if I don't have to have that little interrupt to wonder how much time I have left it's one less distraction.

    Other then that, I could care less. I don't really notice.

    =Blue might be eaten by a grue...

(redmist) RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by redmist (Deacon) on Nov 04, 2000 at 01:52 UTC
RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by Malkavian (Friar) on Nov 03, 2000 at 21:59 UTC
    Open space is good..
    Lots of reference material is a must. I tend to not store all the details in my head, but just remember how to solve the problems generically.
    Other people around is good, as long as it's not too noisy.. I like being able to take my head out of the code from time to time, and share a jest with someone. :)
    I find laughter a great tonic which recharges my proverbial batteries for another long session of tunnel vision.
    Music I can take or leave, as long as it's music I like, I don't mind.. When I play it, it's very much music to fit the mood.
    If I want to write a hacked script, I'll play stuff like NIN, Whale, Garbage etc. That tends to get me in tune with skipping along with some urgency to things..
    If I'm coding something that needs to be more refined, I play classical, or lighter stuff such as Sting, Tori Amos and so forth..
    Good light is a must.. I hate the flourescent tubing... My home environment has daylight colour adjusted bulbs.. Makes me feel that much more comfy..
    A nice supply of food and drink to sup upon is also good.. It just means that hunger/thirst never gets to distract me from what I'm trying to concentrate on.
    A good keyboard is also a must.. At the mo, I use the MS naturals, tho, I want a Maltron keyboard.. Something comfy that my fingers fly over, without too much jarring... I find the standard flat keyboards to be pretty uncomfortable..
    Really, it's just a matter of balancing the feeling of inner peace (necessary for concentrating on the structure of the code you're creating) and the drive and urgency required for me to actually get into gear and do things.. :)
    Pet hates for coding are noise, wrong temperature (too high or too low), and people around I find irritating.. :) Though, thankfully, the world doesn't have that many of those..


      Do not go for the Maltron - it is not worth the trouble in getting it. Get a Kinesis instead - better supported, more standard, and lots of accessories. And you can reprogram all the keys by yourself. And have hardware macros, too. And footswitches. And yes, I own one, and it's great (I own one for about 4-5 years now).

      Christian Lemburg
      Brainbench MVP for Perl

RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by AgentM (Curate) on Nov 04, 2000 at 01:59 UTC
    In order of importance:
    1. Light
    2. Computer with VNC client (ya ain't givin' me no Intel shit!)
    3. MacPerl 5 (no need to comment on this- especially if you have never used it!)
    4. a foul-smelling feline
    5. my favorite tracker (.MOD music format is no. 1!)
    6. multiple ssh-telnet connections to a UN*X of my choice
    7. plenty o' books on topic at hand
    8. a stiff chair to meld my spine to optimally-crooked position
    9. anything else I forget

    AgentM Systems nor Nasca Enterprises nor Bone::Easy nor Macperl is responsible for the comments made by AgentM. Remember, you can build any logical system with NOR.
RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by Penfold (Novice) on Nov 04, 2000 at 05:31 UTC
    Hrm, let's see: - Big screen
    - IRC window open to rest of porgramming team (oh, the joys of telecommuting)
    - TV tuner card playing CH-1 Classic (basically. my choice of musical style but someone *else's choice of music)
    - Diet Coke stash (10' away in kitchen)
    - O'Reilly reference shelf (behind me)
    - Swivel chair, for putting feet up on desk while reading O'Reilly and pondering
    - Steinberger Spirit guitar and Korg Pandora 2, for picking up and noodling on while pondering a problem
RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by jplindstrom (Monsignor) on Nov 04, 2000 at 06:45 UTC
    My favorite coding environment is...

    A state of zeal and the vision of The Project clear in my mind. Grant me that most other things are unimportant.

    I've only been on such a Project a few times, mostly hobby stuff, sometimes particular subsystems at work. Hmmm... maybe I should try to figure out what makes them The Project.


RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by dws (Chancellor) on Nov 04, 2000 at 07:07 UTC
    My most productive environment recently was being crammed into a tiny center airline seat with barely enough room on the tray for a laptop, no reference books (save the ActiveState HMTL-based docs), and a lousy in-flight movie.

    It's not my favorite by any means, but it was the most productive. Sad. Very sad.

RE: What are your favorite coding environments?
by lolindrath (Scribe) on Nov 06, 2000 at 08:49 UTC
    Hmmm, 15" monitor, 2 pounds of atomic fireballs, books, perlmonks, fast internet, crappy dorm chair with my feet up on the desk. They Might Be Giants must be blasting from my speakers and if I'm coding a MUD Pink Floyd must be issuing forth. I don't drink anything while I code so I don't have to get up every 15 minutes to visit the facilities. Also I need at least one good friend online to chat with when I need a break.

by dws (Chancellor) on Nov 04, 2000 at 07:07 UTC
    Dammit. How do I delete a double-post?

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