A real coding workspace

Do you miss the ability to take a bunch of paper, books, and writing utensils and spread them out over a huge desk or table? Me too!

Light Table is based on a very simple idea: we need a real work surface to code on, not just an editor and a project explorer. We need to be able to move things around, keep clutter down, and bring information to the foreground in the places we need it most.

This project is fantastic. It’s taking a page from the Smalltalk environments of yore, cross-referencing that with Bret Victor’s ideas on workspace interactivity. The result is a kick-in-the-pants to almost every developer’s current workflow.

There’s a lot to think about here. A lot of people focus on making their workflow faster, but what about a workspace that makes it easier to think? There’s a lot of room to design a better workspace, even if you’re not going as far as Light Table does.

There’s a project on Kickstarter to fund further development of Light Table. If you write software, it’s likely in your interest to chip in.

2 thoughts on “A real coding workspace

  1. While I love the ideas of auto-presenting extra “stuff” in miniwindows to the right of my code, all of the mouse click-y click-y gives me a bad feeling about this editor.

    I wonder what you think of this as a vim dude. Couldn’t much of the same “code side-by-side” benefits be realized without embarking down the dreaded IDE path?

  2. My immediate reaction was similar. Luckily, the author alludes to including Vim keybindings on the Kickstarter page, so I’m optimistic about this.

    I deeply want the kinds of information and layout Light Table aspires to. I deeply want to only see code most of the time; most editor chrome is useful a small fraction of the time. I think the principles are right on.

    I think the interaction is a detail. Whither keystrokes or mouse clicks doesn’t really change the goal of putting the right information at hand.

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