The idea of IDEs not being forced to rely on text files has been popping up in several of the weblogs I read. While I think Alan has part of the reason correct (there's a lot of infrastructure dedicated to dealing with text files), I don't think he has it all. There are definately some major advantages to putting things in plain text files, which seem to be being ignored For instance, my company has moved from a binary resource format to a text-based resource format precisely because of the advantages it brings. (Well, okay, we never went with the binary format, but that's because the people making the decision saw the problems it had at previous places.) Those advantages being:
- No tool/vendor lock-in.
- Easier to fix when something goes wrong.
- Easier to see the differences when something changes.