I'm working on a pretty big software project.
I have over 100 tables, over 2000 stored procs, over 3000 source files and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of lines of source code.
Sometimes, when I'm sitting here working on it, I feel like I know everything about it. Like I can see everything, it's all properly mapped out in my mind and I can manage the complexity.
I was responsible for pretty much every single line of code. So I know it, because I wrote it.
Sometimes however, I look at my IDE and I see nothing. I see the one file that is open in source view, and get confused about how it interacts with the entire system.
Loading 'the entire system' into my head is quite a challenge. I know I can do it, but when I'm staring at a hundred lines of code and I'm not in the 'zone' it really can be quite daunting to try and navigate. It's like having to understand a mountain when all you can see is a peak protruding through the clouds.
I often feel like my IDE 'gets in the way'. I know what I need to have there, but trying to get it expressed in a form that is useful to a computer via my IDE can be really frustrating. It's like I can't 'see' my system through my IDE.
I know what you mean. I often find help from Source Insight (www.sourceinsight.com), which is an excellent C++ code visualization assistant (along with editing and whatever :P), though I'm a bit fearful that it may get abandoned at some point...it never has gotten much in the way of website updates, future development plans, etc. It's not as good with C# code as it is with C++. Then again, I continue to do a lot more C++, so that's okay.
Thanks for the tip.