Why Won’t Code Editors Print?

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I’ve been working on various types of web development for years now. In that time, I’ve used several text editors, code editors, integrated development environments (IDE), or other software coding tools. Some of them I used by choice after hearing great things, others I was forced to use by clients who “use this tool.”

My biggest pet peeve is the insistence of the coding community that it is never worthwhile to print out code. I think this all started with Sublime Text, which has something of a cult following in dev circles. There is literally no way to print code from Sublime Text without doing an HTML Export. Every time it gets brought up on forums, or whatever, there is someone to shout it down.

I’ve been writing¬†code for 15 years and never had to print anything out,

– Anonymous chucklehead who only thinks what he wants matters.

I hate this sentiment.

For starters, it’s a lie. Usable, cheap, large monitors that let you scroll quickly and efficiently enough to see a big chunk of code are relatively recent. Before that, printing out a section of code so that you could refer to it while another chunk of code was up on your screen was a common thing. You may have not printed anything out in the last five or seven years, but 10 or 15 is a stretch.

print my code out

Second, just because you can’t fathom the idea of printing out code doesn’t mean it has no value. I’ve printed code twice just this week. Once so I could keep trying to hunt down an issue while sitting poolside (and not so far back as to worry about my MacBook getting splashed), and another time while cleaning up some variables and other inconsistencies while eating a sandwich on the rooftop patio. Beyond that, I often print code as a way of getting a different look at it. Maybe Mr. I Don’t Print Code would debug faster if he tried that trick sometime.

Third, the functionality is already almost all there for you. Both Windows and Mac have print subsystems that do all the heavy lifting. You could probably implement print using all open source software if you so chose.

Stop Making Fetch Happen

But, the worst part of all this is knowing that the software makers are caving to the “I don’t print” crowd, instead of giving their software as much usability as possible. Microsoft, in a desperate attempt to seem “in” with that dev crowd does not include the ability to print from Microsoft Visual Source Code despite, no doubt, having a guy down the hall who could build that functionality in an hour.

The only reason for them to not include print ability is because, “Aw, Mom. The other text editors don’t let you print code.”

So, let’s move past this.

Yes, printing code isn’t something anyone would do a lot. But, yes, it CAN be useful and there is literally no reason to not include the functionality. Besides, not everyone uses a text editor for code, and some of those people could probably really use the ability to print.

Until then, I’ll just keep using Notepad++ because at least I can print… you know after I jump through a bunch of hoops to add an extension and stuff.

Free our code. Let us print.

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