Why use the Console instead of a GUI?

Why use the console instead of a GUI? Or why use a simple text editor instead of an all-powerful IDE?

I was perplexed with the shift in the industry towards Consoles and Text Editors. Why would anyone in their right mind use VIM instead of Visual Studio? Crazy Vim hipsters…

But after working with consoles and text editors a little while myself, I think I finally “get” it.

I think it’s mainly about culture, choice, and rapid evolution, and less about the merits of the console or the text editor.

I used to attend big Microsoft conferences in the early 2000’s. Back in those days we were excited to hear what new goodies our overlords will release to make our lives easier. Thousands of people filled auditoriums, drooling over features like pre-built login controls in ASP.NET or Generics in C# (yowzer).

How times have changed… Open source has had a very big impact on the development world. Conferences based on open source technologies now happen all over the place.

We no longer have to wait for big feature announcements by our overlords when they release the next version of their Monolithic-IDE every 2 to 3 years. Our tools are evolving much more rapidly now and with much more community involvement than ever before. And simple command line tools and lightweight editors make rapid evolution much simpler.

I think that is a fantastic thing. In a way its much more agile and iterative. Times have changed, and definitely for the better.

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