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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Source Insight

Source Insight is THE BEST code editor I've seen. It is totally, staggeringly, awesome. Especially if you are coding in C. It has pushed vim onto No.2 on my list now. It's way better than VC++. Much better than eclipse.

I've not used IntelliJ so I can't comment on that. I've heard a lot of good things about it, so if you are into Java programming you may want to investigate it along with Source Insight. But for C programming, it simply blows everything else away.

Now, VC++ and eclipse may have more features, but this still beats them. Why? It provides contextual information about whatever symbol is under the cursor. It makes navigating to different functions a snap. It can keep many, many files open at a time. And its FAST. Did I say FAST? I meant amazingly, blindingly FAST. Eclipse can barely run on my system, let alone allow me to keep twenty files open at a time. Source Insight lets me do it.

Did I mention smart rename? It allows me to rename a variable or function name, and it will rename the function everywhere its called. I know it's there in eclipse, but eclipse is such a slow behemoth that I just can't stand it.

Forget coding. Source Insight make READING code so easy. I can travel between various functions in seconds. I can see where all a function is called from. It formats the code beautifully. I can see function names and variable names so easily. They just pop out when you're looking for them.

Oh, and did I mention smart searching? Smart searching allows you to search symbols from the entire project. So you dont have to remember which file contains the function you want to see. What is more, you can type just a few characters of symbol to see it. That's available everywhere, right? Not when those characters can be from the middle of the function or variable name. Still, its been done in other IDEs. But not when its a similarity search, so you can search for "styleAdd" and it will find "displayAddStyleProperty". This is great when you don't know the exact name of the function but you have an idea that its got something to do with styles. This feature alone makes Source Insight more worthwhile than anything else.

Check out the trial version. You can download it here.

I don't use IDEs to read and write code anymore. I just use them for compiling and debugging. Source Insight actually makes me enjoy using it. This is how software should be written. It's awesome. I'm converted.

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11 comments:

dkjariwala said...

VS.NET offers all this plus lot more.

Siddhi said...

I've not used VS.NET, mostly because VC++ 6 was a big headache to use. Does it support writing C programs? What other things can it do?

The features overview doesn't say a thing about editor features, its too preoccupied with talking about XML web services :(

Gaurav said...

Source Insight is very popular within Microsoft as well. Personally I found it great for browsing code but not so much for writing new code. Its auto-complete was kind of sluggish and for .NET development VS.NET wins hands down.

David said...

I absolutely agree. I've been using Source Insight for years now, and trying to get my coworkers on the bandwagon as well (I am not hyperbolizing when I estimate a productivity boost on the order of 2-3x when working on legacy codebases). I hope they come out with some more refactoring support in their next version...whenever that is...and a speed boost for C# would be nice. But it blows VC++ and every other editor I've ever tried (and I've tried a lot) out of the water.
The only thing I've found that even comes close to the same level of usefulness is VC++ 2005 (beta), and it's still not quite there. It does have better code completion, and is a fair piece better for C# code, but SI still rules the C++ editing world. For now, anyway.

Sandeep Shinde said...

I too agree with you... the only think I found annoying is the color formatting or "styles" as defined in options. can you please provide me your style file...the default style is too bad..

Siddhi said...

Actually I use the default styles itself. I kind of like it.

Shiva said...

i too need the style files as such default is too bright to hangout for long time

Shiva said...

i have created one styles file,If u want do mail me @ nitturi.sp@gmail.com, as i could not attach the same here..

Vijayendra Suman said...

I think this IDE is Only good when you are looking for some quick reverse Engineering of code and very good at code review.
There are also some problem when you want to link with to compiler.
I have always believe vim editor is best to write code or when you are debugging *nix standard editor interface are the best.

edsonma said...

:) Vim is the best hehehehe

Yatin Gambhir said...

I have one question.
What is a good style for regular use with SI? Because the default one is kind of too bright for eyes especially when reading/modifying code is all you do everyday!
Also, SI does not provide a few variants of default style to suit different likings.

I have seen people configured it to great extend to look a lot like vim but then no one has shared it over internet.
If you have a good style, would you point me to it?