Question to fellow programmers: Do you like auto-complete?

Atom's tab-completion drives me nuts.

Atom’s tab-completion drives me nuts.

I’ve always found auto-complete to be an insanity-inducing feature in my programming text editor. Inevitably, it causes me to type the wrong thing, or hit TAB too many times. Enter-complete I find to be even more infuriating.

But auto-complete, especially in text editors designed for programmers, is often very a elaborate feature. It’s often context-sensitive, often data-type aware, and tries offers suggestions that make sense. This tells me that someone must find these features valuable. So what am I missing?

Are you a programmer who uses your text editor’s auto-complete feature? Please enlighten me. When is it useful, and how do you configure it for optimal productivity? I look forward to your comments below!


  1. I like auto-complete to be “on-demand”: show it when I ask for it, otherwise don’t, just like tab-completion in the shell. In Vim I mapped this to Control+Space because that works better from insert mode than tab.

    I guess it’s more “complete” than “autocomplete”, but it’s the best of both worlds.

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