Lately I’ve happened to install a whole bunch of IDEs while working on different projects and keeping up-to-date with the latest tools available. In my opinion, a competent IDE is often more crucial when it comes to churning out good software than the actual language, platforms and libraries you work with.
In fact, I believe in terms of productivity, proper support for code generation, auto-completion, refactoring and debugging has probably propelled software development at least as much as new programming paradigms the past 15 years or so. So surely we’ve come a long way since vi and gcc.
What always strikes me though is the increase of sheer download size, check this out:
- MonoDevelop 2.4.2 (Windows) 36MB
- Eclipse Classic 3.6.2 (Mac) 170 MB
- NetBeans Full 7.0 (Mac) 204 MB
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate (Windows) 2.28 GiB
- Xcode 4 (Mac) 4.28 GiB
To be fair, you can’t really compare IDEs by looking at their download size because they usually offer very different features. Nonetheless, I find it amazing that Apple has somehow managed to engineer a 4GB+ IDE. Remember that this is mostly code compiled into various binaries so some people have actually written this. It would be fun to see how the size of major IDEs has changed over time, if you have a graph for that or a link to an article then please leave a comment!
In the above list Eclipse and Netbeans excludes the JRE, Visual Studio excludes .NET while MonoDevelop includes 16MB GTK#. Xcode seems to vary in file size but this was what I got when I purchased it from the app store a few days ago.