Coffeehouse Thread

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Compilers are free but IDE isn't?

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  • User profile image
    joelfinkle

    I'm very happy to see that with .Net, command-line compilers, and a lot of tutorial information, were made available to developers free of charge.

    But why does wrapping it in an IDE suddenly make it a $500 piece of software?

    I've been playing with SharpDevelop, since I currently don't have a corporation to spring for the software price.  Haven't gotten too far, since I need a project to actually make me work through it.

  • User profile image
    Catatonic

    Why not check out the Standard edition of VB.net or C#. They have almost all the good stuff from VS.net Pro, for a price that I think is cheap even if you're not profiting from your work.

  • User profile image
    Jorkapp

    Think of it this way:

    Even though .Net is built upon preexisting languages, its still a new language set in of itself.

    If I made a new language (Call it LanguageX), and charged people $500 for the compilers and tutorial information, noone would want to use it. If you release that kind of stuff for free, people will use it.

    Here is where marketing strategy comes in handy. Take Linux for example. (Generally) Its a free download off the 'net. The catch: You have to download about 2GB of data (impossible for 56k'ers) and burn it onto your own CD's, and print out the documentation yourself.

    Meanwhile, a boxed copy of linux, full with CD's, documentation, and a pretty box, can be bought in a store for about $60. That $60 bought your convenience, as well as saved you downloading 2GB, burning 3 CD's, and Printing 600 pages.

    Microsoft charges $500 for convenience. However, its well worth it. I have a copy of Visual C++ 6.0 (2nd hand). Beforehand I was doing it the old fashioned way with Borland:

    \>edit blahblah.cpp
    <type/modify code here>
    File->exit
    \>cc blahblah.cpp
    -ERROR at line X-
    \>edit blahblah.cpp
    scroll to line X
    <Correct code here>
    File->Exit
    \>cc blahblah.cpp

    With Visual C++, that long process became:

    Double-click blahblah.cpp
    <type/modify code here>
    Tools->Make blahblah.exe
    -ERROR at line X-
    Scroll to line X, correct code
    Tools->Make blahblah.exe

    Best $20 i ever spent. I thank my friend who sold it to me for upgrading to .NET.


    I suppose you can also look at it this way. They gave you the compilers and doc's. Now code yourself an IDE, and save the $500!

  • User profile image
    tiernan

    try Sharp Develop. its written in C#, open source, and therefore free. why reinvent the wheel and develop your own, when you can build apon someone elses.

  • User profile image
    Ballpeen​Hammer

    So I'm guessing that you are talking about Visual Studio?  It's a whole lot more than just a text editor that uses the command-line compilers.  Intellisense, debugging (not just stopping at breakpoints, but attaching to running processes and interrogating objects), super integrated help....those are just the ones that come to mind off the top of my head.

    I tried using a bunch of the free ones a year or so ago.  They were all nice, but nothing compared to VS.  You should check it out sometime if you get a chance.  If you are a student or know a student you should be able to track down a copy for $100.

  • User profile image
    Karim

    Catatonic wrote:
    Why not check out the Standard edition of VB.net or C#. They have almost all the good stuff from VS.net Pro, for a price that I think is cheap even if you're not profiting from your work.


    Standard Edition's limitations may or may not be important, depending on what you're developing.  See

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/vbasic/howtobuy/choosing.aspx

    By "reusable Windows and Web controls" I think they mean Standard Edition forces you to drop down to the command prompt to compile a DLL. Smiley

    By "powerful server software" I think they mean you can't use Standard Edition to develop a service.  Though I support you can do something ugly like use srvany or cygrunsrv...

    If all you want is the IDE, Standard Edition should do the job....

    Still, it makes me wish there was something between a $99 Crippled Standard Edition and a $500 "This is the version you really want" Edition.  Can we just have one version for $250?

    Or... how about just giving away all development tools?  Tough concept for a company that got its start selling interpreters and compilers, but wouldn't this benefit the Microsoft ecology more in the long term?  The old "give away the razors, sell the blades" approach.  It seems to work for printers.  (Inkjet cartridge cost > Printer cost)

    Or... how about a FREE Professional Edition that will only compile 500 lines of code or less?  On line 501, you get a popup stating that you should seriously consider upgrading Wink

    I suppose this will be a moot point soon enough anyway.  Once we all start writing entire apps in XAML, I can go back to "Visual" Notepad Wink

  • User profile image
    Pseudo

    Karim wrote:

    I suppose this will be a moot point soon enough anyway.  Once we all start writing entire apps in XAML, I can go back to "Visual" Notepad Wink


    I doubt this because VS for Longhorn will support Intellisense for XAML, and a graphical GUI builder for XAML and debugging for XAML and all the other features that make VS better than Notepad for C++/C#.

    I think it's great that the compilers are free (and from what I hear the build program will be free for Longhorn) but I'm more than willing to drop some cash for all the great features of VS that make me more productive.  It also helps that I'm a student so it's quite cheap for my learning purposes.

  • User profile image
    billy

    This may not go over well here, but over at http://www.jetbrains.com/ they have a saweeeet IDE for Java called IntelliJ. I hear that they are deveolping a C# plugin (or seperate IDE) as well. The price for IntelliJ is like 249USD I think, and in case you have not used it much (or at all), it is the MackDaddy of all IDE's. Yes, yes, I know, VS is bad *, but much of the features coming out in Whidbey are copied, errrrrr, embraced from IntelliJ. Productivity has a new meaning with IntelliJ. The only thing better would be to have the code compiled as you *think* it. ........ I know, that is a stretch, but the MS camp should be used to the over-hype at this point... Wink Seriously though, I can't wait till Whidbey comes out. I think it will be a while till the JetBrains C# IDE is available, and knowing MS, they will have *embraced* and *extended* the concepts introduced there. But, back to the topic, I have used SharpDevelop a bit (not on any *under pressure* development, but it seems worth using until you can accuire a copy of VS.Net.

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