If you can't do it in a day, you can't do it

I was talking with Mark Reid about some of the problems with Coding in a GUI. He nailed part of the problem with soundbite too good not to share:

"If you can't do it in a day, you can't do it."

This is a persistent problem with tools that make you code in a GUI. These tools are great for working on bite-sized problems, but the workflow becomes painful when the problem needs to be broken into pieces and attacked separately.

Part of the problem is that I can't test the code. That means I need to understand how each change will affect the entire code base. It's impossible to compartmentalize.

GUI's also make it difficult to split a problem across people. If I can't track changes easily it's impossible to tell whether my changes conflict with a peer's changes.

So look out, bad tools are insidious! If you find yourself abandoning an analysis because it's hard to refactor, consider choosing a different toolchain next time. Especially if it's because there's no easy way to move your code out of a GUI!

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