Why aren’t IDEs incredibly fun?

Ted Leung (http://www.sauria.com/blog/2005/10/20#1406) wonders “?Where are the incredibly fun programming tools?…. Many [IDEs] take out some of the tedious tasks associated with programming, but none of them give me that feeling that they are enhancing my creativity or thinking?.”

To me, the features of programming languages are what give me that buzz. The language is what you think in, after all, so its connection to enhancing your thoughts is more direct.

But Ted’s phrase “incredibly fun” resonates with me. I really enjoy programming, but is it incredibly fun the way it could be? It used to be that programming was the most fun thing you could do with computers. Into the DOS age, programming was more fun than any computer game.

Now, I would say that programming is “just” gratifying. It allows you to extend the capabilities of your computer, it allows you to make things work the way you think they should. It’s incredibly engaging ? it’s still easy to lose hours and hours to a programming task. But is it incredibly fun?