Two years ago when I joined my present outfit: a big corporate multi-national, There came a day when I had to choose an IDE.
Although I had previously thought the world of JBuilder I now came to the conclusion that it was crap! I did not like the available tools (Jbuilder, Kawa, VisualAge, emacs) for all sorts of reasons. So one day, while on a web-excursion looking for a good refactoring tool i fell upon the intellij site.
I was surprised to find out that Intellij Renamer and Intellij Refactor (which had been JBuilder plug-ins) were no longer available and instead Intellij was hawking a new IDE called IDEA.
Ooooh I thought.... so the Intellij guys think they can do it better than Borland!
So I started using Intellij IDEA and I became known as that guy who won't use standard company tools! It took about a year for my closest co-workers to see the light. And every time someone gave IDEA a try it was a one way trip. They did not want to come back! Even my manager gave it a go and was impressed how quickly he was up and running with IDEA.
So last fall we started down the road of getting company approval to use IDEA! What a journey that was. I am glad to say that 8 month later we finally got our real licenses and do not have to use EAP builds anymore. Well I had bought my own license a long time ago because I could not bare the idea of not having IDEA if EAP disappeared or if anything happened. Plus it was some of the best spent money i have ever done.
All through this i kept on hearing sceptisism. But to his credit, my manager kept pushing with management and we finally got the licenses this week. :)
In the mean time I have become a sort of IDEA guru/nag for everyone here. And I really felt like I was on mission last fall when my wife and I were on a trip to Prague. I had the crazy idea of going to say hi to the Intellij guys! So we hopped in a cab and asked the driver to get us to the address i had printed out from the web. Frankly I had no idea were this was going to take us. A few people I had asked at the internet cafe could not tell me in what part of town the address was. The cab driver took us far outside the city and for a while I was affraid that this was not going to end well.
We got to this place which somehow did not live up to my expectation... you know the classic Silicon Valley type building with glass and pollished steal every thing! No... it was a house! I did not want to go and ring... I was affraid that some kids mother would anser and that I would discover that intellij was one teenager's basement enterprise!
The cab driver insisted on ringing. I guess his pride was on the line. He had brought us all the way out there and now we should go in to prove that he had brought us to the right place! So he rang the door bell. Some guys appeared on the balcony. I asked if this really was IntelliJ. They said yes. They then proceeded to ask me who I wanted to see. And I just said, "I'm just here to say hi, really." Anyways they let me in and I had a great chat with a couple of the guys there... Eugene and an other guy who's name I can't remember.
Anyways it turns out that they have converted a whole house into their corporate head-quarters... not a basement operation. On the other hand they must of thought I was nuts. I think they thought I was there to get a job.... but no. Just wanted to say hi and tell them I thought they were doing a great job. So we talked for a while and then we were on ourr way.
My wife and i giggled all the way back to the city after this encounter. It was one of those crazy life's moments i will never forget.