Programmer Productivity: Using the Keyboard Better

I can’t believe this argument is still going on, but there are actually programmers out there who still argue that plain old text editors are more productive than IDEs for programming. I could write for days and cite hundreds of studies about why they’re wrong, but today I’m just going to tackle one objection:

Common objection: If you use an IDE, you must menus, buttons, and the mouse an awful lot, and that slows you down!

Yes, the mouse is slower than the keyboard for most tasks, provided there are appropriate keyboard shortcuts, but this argument assumes that either there aren’t adequate keyboard shortcuts, or you don’t know them. In a modern IDE like Delphi there’s a keyboard shortcut for practically everything, and good programmers know their way around their tools with just the keyboard.

Aside: If you sign up for my mailing list over there on the right side of this page, I’ll send you a free report on 10 Keyboard Shortcuts Every Delphi User Should Know.

So if you take a great IDE, and add even more great tools, you would expect them to work well with the keyboard too, right? Of course, Castalia is very keyboard-friendly. Here are a few of the keyboard shortcuts that Castalia adds to the Delphi IDE:

  • Ctrl+Alt+P: Navigate to any procedure or function in your code with just a few keystrokes
  • Ctrl+Alt+U: See and navigate to any unit in the current file’s uses clause
  • Ctrl+Alt+R: Open the refactoring menu and see all refactorings available at the current cursor location
  • Shift+Ctrl+V: Open multipaste, a helpful tool for working with large blocks of text in the clipboard
  • Ctrl+W: Expand the current selection on logical levels, starting with the current identifier, statement, block, etc…

I don’t think any Delphi user edits their code in an old-school text editor, but we could all learn to be a little more productive with our tools. I hope this helps.

Become a more productive programmer with Castalia for Delphi, a collection of time-saving tools for Delphi developers.

5 Responses to Programmer Productivity: Using the Keyboard Better

  1. PCPGMR June 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Nice, cough, advertisement for the product.

  2. Carlos Tré June 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Well I have Castalia, GExperts and MMX installed, and I still have a lot of use for Boxer Text Editor. All the time I’m coding it’s open side by side with the Delphi IDE, for its powerful macro language and editing features like power columns make it just perfect for many of my everyday coding needs.

  3. Warren P. June 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    I wrote my own editor because no IDE has proper multi-file search and replace.

    By proper I mean context sensitive delphi-syntax-aware search and replace. :-)

    But it has no DFM editing. So I’m moving back and forth a lot. But when Delphi 2007 is crashy crashy and my code won’t be leaving 2007 for some time yet, it’s good to have a non-IDE editing option at hand.


  4. Sebastian Jänicke June 29, 2012 at 2:44 am #

    The funny thing about keyboard and mouse usage is, that I always find it funny to see someone who always uses the keyboard navigating through the code to copy and paste and so on.

    And I use the mouse and have the same objective done in a fraction of the time because I am immediately at the position I want to be and do not need to use the arrow keys and so on.

    Of course I use the keyboard too, for example with shortcuts, who would not. But I am way faster with using both mouse and keyboard than everybody I saw up to now who only uses the keyboard.

    Regarding pure text editors:
    Without refactoring, error insight and other nice features no macro or anything can help me to be nearly as productive as in a fully featured IDE. But yes, there are cases in which a stupid text editor has interesting features. (Though most of the time I can do those things even better with refactoring or sync replace.)

  5. adrian dentser June 29, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    Real men code with edlin.

For programmers, by a programmer

Hi. My name is Jacob, and I'm the creator of Castalia.

I starting programming in 1986, learning Lightspeed Pascal on a Mac Classic. Today, I'm a professional programmer, teacher, and entrepreneur.

I have a Master's Degree in Computer Science, and I still love Pascal and Delphi.

I believe that writing code is the heart and soul of software development, and I love helping programmers write code more effectively.