For the best Ajax-ready environment to support rapid development, its got to be NetBeans 6.0. I think. I mean, I’ve not actually used it yet, but I do have a need to build some prototypes for dynamic web frameworks that include little widgets and JSF bits and pieces (probably) to enable me to look cleverer than I actually am, which, unsurprisingly, isn’t difficult.
I’ve not settled on a development environment since I started trying to use them in earnest a good few years ago. Most of the things I’ve used to try and support rapid prototyping are not really IDEs at all, but applications that just do one thing, meaning I end up using 3 or 4 of them and try to stitch everything together rather unsuccessfully at the end. If I was being really pedantic, which I am, I’d say the best development environment I’ve ever used for web prototyping, where the web part is actually a web part and not just a photoshop part, was XEmacs. I know some of you reading this are going dewy-eyed at the very mention of it, before you get back to work on Dreamweaver.
The problem with most applications, IDEs, or whatever toolkits I’ve come across, is that they invariably do at least one thing that constantly irritates me. Not the kind of thing that irritates me that you can turn off in an options screen, but the kind of thing that irritates me because its intrinsically the way the application does what it does, whether its the cumbersome previewing methods, or the sublime adherence to a doctype declaration I didn’t specify, or even just having windows with fat, ugly borders. Actually, that last one is the kind of irritant that would bug me the most.
So, I’m hoping that NetBeans will be something I can call my friend. If not, its back to XEmacs, a gin and tonic, and a long night of ctrl-c, ctrl-v and ctrl-bladder, until I’ve hacked together a product finder that surfaces on not just product gateway pages, but the whole of the moon.
Listening Post: The Prodigy: Poison