in reply to Rambling about debuggers

I have been using Visual Studio since it was Visual C 1.5, and its hard to find a better one for debugging C. I even managed to integrate Perl within it in VS 6.0, but could not figure how to do that with the .Net versions.

A language like C, with a large application, really needs a decent debugger, although I guess it does depend on how many bugs you write. I have used line-by-line C debuggers like adb, sdb, gdb, on UNIX/Linux and breathed a sigh of relief when the development plan brought me back to VS.

With Perl I have had to use the line-by-line debugger a few times, usually with obscure, deeply nested, bugs. It's not difficult to use if you have an idea where the bug is (a good reason for functional decomposition). I teach Perl, and it is sometimes useful when a student has a bug and yet the code "looks right". Mind you, after ten years of doing that I have a good idea of the most likely bugs they produce.

It is unfortunate that many Perl IDEs have a steep learning curve. Eclipse with e-p-i-c is quite nice, but can't be put in front of a newbie. Padre also appears to be very good, if only I had time to figure out how to configure it to use different Perl versions. It has to be said though that VB programmers are singularly unimpressed with vi, but your average Linux developer considers even kate (KDE text editor) to be a bit "nancy".

Talking of VB programmers, I have met quite a few that can't really tell the difference between the language and the IDE ("in VB you do this-and-that"). Here's a thought, would Perl be more popular if it came bundled with an IDE, hopefully a better one than Python's IDLE (e.g. Padre)?

Throwing code at a debugger and seeing what comes out is, I guess, a sign of the times and of RAD tools. My heart says "yuk!", but my head says, "what the heck, if it gets the job done".