I’ve been away awhile, working on a new project. It’s part of an educational effort about molecular dynamics simulation. Although I’ve been working a lot with Clojure using emacs for editing, this project required a return to Java. As a result, I’ve been using NetBeans again. The difference in productivity was amazing and not in the way I expected.

As I said, I’ve been using Clojure and emacs for awhile now and was very pleased with the productivity gains that were possible with the Clojure language. However, to work with Clojure, I had been using emacs as the editor and development environment.

When I switched back to Java and NetBeans, it took longer to figure out how to do stuff, but my fingers just flew. That wasn’t my experience with emacs. I would often have to pause to try to remember keystrokes. Sometimes, I would have to do some customization to the editor just to get things done more efficiently. Emacs is infinitely customizable, but you need to make those customizations. It just isn’t that useful out of the box. And that is where I was spending a lot of my time. The expressive benefits of Clojure were being lost in the constant need to fiddle with emacs.

Sure, a lot of this can be made up with continued use a practice, but it wasn’t what I expected when I made the switch. Always improving.