Does Visual Studio Rot the Mind?

Mark Wieder mwieder at
Thu Nov 23 17:03:11 EST 2006


While y'all are sitting back too stuffed to move, and you know you
should sit down at the computer but you can't actually bring yourself
to do any real work, you might want to read a speech Charles Petzold
(yes, *that* Charles Petzold) gave a year ago on various things
entitled "Does Visual Studio Rot the Mind?" I certainly don't buy
everything he has to say here (the thought of using Notepad as a
development environment gives me the willies these days) but I found
it entertaining and thought-provoking, particularly his thoughts on
RAD environments.

"For an author who writes programming books, all this stuff presents a
quandary. How do you write a programming tutorial? Do you focus on
using Visual Studio to develop applications? Frankly, I found it very
hard to write sentences like “Now drag the button object from the tool
box to your dialog box” and still feel like I was teaching

"As Visual Studio is generating code, it is also erecting walls
between that code and the programmer. Visual Studio is implying that
this is the only way you can write a modern Windows or web program
because there are certain aspects of modern programming that only it
knows about. And Visual Studio adds to this impression by including
boilerplate code that contains stuff that has never really been
adequately discussed in the tutorials or documentation that Microsoft

-Mark Wieder
 mwieder at

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