Check out the new IDE! With a really impressive features. Too bad it’s only a concept for now.
Light table is based on a few guiding principles:
- You should never have to look for documentation
- Files are not the best representation of code, just a convenient serialization.
- Editors can be anywhere and show you anything – not just text.
- Trying is encouraged – changes produce instaneous results
- We can shine some light on related bits of code
In Inventing on Principle, Bret showed us that we could live-edit games and write binary search in an editor that is constantly evaluating and showing you what’s going on. The lispers among us are used to using the REPL to have an environment where we can try things out. But we can do better – we can do it in place and instantaneously. For example here I type the code
(+ 3 4)and we immediately see that it evaluates to 7 – no ctrl-enter or anything else.
Light Table takes this idea as far as it can and doesn’t just show you variables to the side, but actually shows you how the code is filled in. This lets you see how values flow through arbitrarily complex groups of functions.
This level of real-time evaluation and visualization basically creates a real-time debugger, allowing you to quickly try various inputs and watch it flow through your code. There’s no faster way to catch bugs than to watch your program work.