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Input Devices Programming

Best Mouse For Programming? 569

Posted by timothy
from the keep-it-away-from-cigarettes-and-drugs dept.
LosManos writes "Which is the best programming mouse? Mandatory musts are wireless, and that it doesn't clog up like old mechanical mice. Present personal preferences are for: lots of buttons, since if I have moved my hand away from the keyboard I can at least do something more than move the pointer; sturdy feeling; not too light, so it doesn't move around by me accidentally looking at it." What would you recommend?
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Best Mouse For Programming?

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  • Mouse? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gameboyhippo (827141) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:15PM (#28642359) Journal

    Since when can you use a mouse in Emacs or VI?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by leetrout (855221)
      I got all excited thinking I was going to get a first post with "You don't need a mouse for Emacs". Great minds... ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Whorhay (1319089)

      Hazaa!

      My preference is actually to corded laser mice. I've had a couple cordless ones and they always felt too heavy for my tastes. And when the batteries start to go it's always frustrating to have to stop whatever I am doing to go find fresh ones. I also happen to prefer the five button mice, the mouse-wheel button rarely ever gets used but at times it's made for a great "boss button".

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ls671 (1122017) *

        I use a cordless mouse but a corded one is plugged in the computer as well. Hence I can always use the corded one if I forget to recharge the batteries on the cordless one. Having 2 mice plugged into my computer at the same time doesn't seem to be a problem for me. ! ;-)

    • Re:Mouse? (Score:4, Informative)

      by zr-rifle (677585) <zedr@@@zedr...com> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:23PM (#28642509) Homepage
      Since the dawn of gpm [about.com]...

      Not everybody uses Emacs or VI, and some prefer GVim, which fully supports the mouse.

      For some kind of activities, such as the highlighting of square blocks of text, the mouse is faster and more efficient that the keyboard.

      Obviously, for everything else you should memorize key shortcuts.
      • >> For some kind of activities, such as the highlighting of square blocks of text
        Ctrl-v is your friend in vim (And of course, Shift-v for line select).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Neil Hodges (960909)

          >> For some kind of activities, such as the highlighting of square blocks of text Ctrl-v is your friend in vim (And of course, Shift-v for line select).

          Meh, marks are good enough for me. I never use select mode.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by binkzz (779594)
        Actually, vim has mouse support too. But why would you use side wheels on a harley?
    • by Foofoobar (318279)
      Yes. Thank you. These point-and-click developers and system administrators need to actually learn what it is they are doing underneath that click.
      • Exactly. Nothing is more painful than being paired up with a "developer" that is trying to code using a mouse and having them work at half to quarter speed of a person who actually knows how to use keyboard shortcuts.

      • Pretty much. That's my big beef with XAML right now. I'm having trouble understanding what exactly is going on underneath the tags.

    • Touch Point (Score:2, Informative)

      by PleaseFearMe (1549865)

      My Thinkpad X61's touch point is perfect. It's in the middle of the keyboard, so there is minimal hand movement to move the mouse when typing. It moves much better than the touchpad because you don't need to reload once you reach the edge of the sensitive location. It also takes up very little room, so it works on the plane, etc.

    • Since about ten years ago.

    • Re:Mouse? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Fatalv (1594975) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:50PM (#28642935)
      I use a mouse in emacs and vi. I found a 9 button mouse and bought 12 of them. I now have xmodmap setup so that I can simulate all 108 keys of the keyboard. I rarely even touch the thing anymore!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Alan Shutko (5101)

      Since before 1994 in Emacs, at least.

    • Exactly (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's what I was thinking: "A mouse for programming, WTF?"

      The best mouse I have ever owned is my Logitech MX518. Previously I was a big fan of the regular Microsoft ball mice. I am a "twitch" gamer so I value high performance and accurate mice. Anyway, back to the MX518. As it's optical it never "clogs up" and it's wired so it always works 100% of the time with no batteries and no matter what interference is around. It has a variable sensitivity right in the mouse (no software needed) and has a high

  • KVM? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:16PM (#28642375)

    I've found most KVMs make it so my wireless input devices don't work. :(

  • by DriedClexler (814907) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:17PM (#28642393)

    Isn't this kind of like asking, "What are the best training wheels to use on the Tour de France?"

    Elite programmers should be using an environment where they don't have to use the mouse at all, or use it minimally. They know key commands for everything, except maybe when you want to test out a mouse feature, in which case you can't assume the user has a cool mouse anyway.

  • IBM Trackpoint (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bvanheu (1028050) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:18PM (#28642411)
    I use a keyboard with an IBM trackpoint so i don't keep moving my right hand between keyboard and mouse. It takes a little to get used to it, but it worth the try! http://www.pc.ibm.com/ww/healthycomputing/trkpnt.html [ibm.com]
  • by mdarksbane (587589) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:18PM (#28642413)

    I never want to have to worry about replacing batteries, recharging, or waiting for the mouse to make up from sleep on anything as core to my workflow as a mouse.

    Personally I think that any good gaming mouse works well for coding. You've got your extra buttons (which mostly just give you an extra forward/back in your browser) and good accuracy. I'm a fan of my Razer Diamondback, although by this point the grippy paint they put on it is coming off so it looks a bit shabby.

    I would say with 100 certainty that your keyboard is ten times more important than your mouse for programming. The mouse just has to not get in your way.

    • Agreed. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Logitech MX-518 is the best gaming mouse I've ever used. High precision, no drift, works great on a variety of surfaces.

      When I showed up for my first day of a programming job a few years ago (at a game development company), guess what mouse was plugged into my machine? Yep, an MX-518.

      I have one at home, one at work and I've always been more satisfied with them.

    • by IsaacD (1376213) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:42PM (#28642809)

      I never want to have to worry about replacing batteries, recharging...

      but if the electricity is out, you can't use your mouse!

    • by seifried (12921)
      Get one that takes AA batteries and have a spare battery or two (although in my Microsoft mouse they seem to last a few months, and that's a good 60-80 hours a week). As for the mouse going to "sleep" I've never noticed that (I move my mouse, the pointer moves, no delays I've ever noticed). A good wireless mouse isn't cheap, but it's worth it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Facegarden (967477)

      I never want to have to worry about replacing batteries, recharging, or waiting for the mouse to make up from sleep on anything as core to my workflow as a mouse.

      Personally I think that any good gaming mouse works well for coding. You've got your extra buttons (which mostly just give you an extra forward/back in your browser) and good accuracy. I'm a fan of my Razer Diamondback, although by this point the grippy paint they put on it is coming off so it looks a bit shabby.

      I would say with 100 certainty that your keyboard is ten times more important than your mouse for programming. The mouse just has to not get in your way.

      Lots of people are hating on wireless, but as long as you don't go bluetooth, you shouldn't have those annoying sleep issues. As far as dying, my home mouse is rechargeable and has a nice base to rest it one once a month or so, and my work mouse just uses AA batteries so I got a $10 charger for my desk and when the batteries die about once a month, I just swap them into the charger for the fresh set, it's pretty painless.

      I do CAD all day so I use my mouse non-stop, and i don't have any of the issues that pe

  • None? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously, once you get used to key bindings, you end up being much faster in ide's like vim and emacs than with a mouse (yeah, I consider them ide's).

    It takes some time thought, but believe me, it's worth it.

  • Logitech MX1100 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Swizec (978239) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:20PM (#28642443) Homepage
    There simply isn't a better mouse in the world. All the fancy X11/Compiz shortcuts you actually need can go on it, rechargable batteries, easy to move and most of all, incredibly ergonomic.

    Plus that endless scroll feature is perfect for grokking long walls of code.
  • by Thangalin (848856)

    The Logitech Marble Mouse trackball has four buttons, sturdy, and won't cause your neck to get strained from the fine motor control required to move a regular mouse. Mine has a USB cable; I do not know if a wireless version is available.

    • How the hell does your *neck* get strained from moving a regular mouse?
    • Gotta second this. You get awesome control (since IMO fingers are better at fine motor control than thumbs are), little arm motion, and great stability in a relatively small package.

      Plus you confound normal mouse-users, so they're tempted to just leave your machine alone. The cable is USB and PS/2 (cheapie adapter included). I don't think a wireless version is available, but that's generally the case with trackballs AFAIK.

    • Been using one for 6+ years. Won't use anything else.

    • The better one was the Mouseman Marble trackball. Which they don't make anymore. And its successor, which I believe is wireless. And they don't make that one anymore, either. I think it had 6 buttons, too. Fully programmable. Bastards.

  • by Kamokazi (1080091) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:20PM (#28642449)

    Wireless with built in rechargable battery that lasts several days easily for me. Lots of buttons, the scroll wheel is very nice, you can keep it in standard click mode, or use free scrolling, or toggle between the two easily; automatically or manually.

    Fully programmable with lots of buttons, forward/back, and the cool thumb quick flip thing.

    It contours very well in the hand, and I really like the extra lip under the thumb. It has some nice weight to it, but it's not too heavy to be tiresome. Overall it's the best mouse I've every owned.

    • by Zakabog (603757) <john@nosPAm.jmaug.com> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @08:12PM (#28644613)
      I have an MX Revolution as well and I was about to post the same comment. I love the free scrolling mode when I'm searching for something in my code. Just give it a spin and stop when I see what I'm looking for. Plus when I'm not at the computer I just put the mouse back in the charging dock, the batteries haven't died on me once in the entire time I've owned the mouse (bought it when it was first released.) Plus it's the best mouse I've ever used for graphic work, it has a nice weight to it to give me precise control over my movements, it's very accurate and doesn't jam up like a ball mouse, and there's no wire hindering my movements (getting stuck on things, pushing against the mouse, going over the mousepad and blocking my hand, etc.)
  • by eln (21727) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:21PM (#28642463) Homepage
    I do all my programming by floating through a giant VR simulation of the computer's memory with various bits of code randomly located in countless giant towers. I don't see why you would need a "mouse" for such a thing.
  • Suggestions (Score:4, Informative)

    by pantherace (165052) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:22PM (#28642485)
    First of all, I'd suggest not wireless if you are worried about it 'moving' around with you not looking. Almost any wireless mouse I've used does that sometimes, with the exception of Gyration. (Microsoft, Logitech, and several off brands) Second of all, if you want sturdy feeling, you might go for one of the cases based on the Logitech mx500 (including the G5) or some of the similarly shaped Microsoft mice. (Unless you are left-handed.) The Logitech mx518 I'm using has at least 3 buttons which can be mapped to something useful. (Intended as forward, back, and app-switch. I think you can remap the +/- resolution buttons, but I haven't bothered)
  • C'mon guys, give him a break. After all, he couldn't really ask which keyboard was best for it, now could he?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Not on this site. Not unless he wanted to see 300 posts extolling the virtues of the Model M. Ugh.

  • I recently finally broke my last Logitech cordless mouse, which had lasted a good 200 three foot drops onto a hard surface (dogs, clumsiness, etc). I finally gave in and tried wireless (I hate wireless in nearly all its forms), and picked up a Logiitech MX Revolution. Apart from the fact that I have to keep a clear line-of-sight between the mouse and receiver (stupid for an RF device if you ask me, but whaddyagonnado)...the mouse has been fantastic. It has a shedload of buttons and two, count em, *two*,

    • by joshamania (32599)

      /s/cordless/corded ...oh yeah, and the rechargeable battery lasts a few days off the dock, so it's pretty pimp too.

  • by jockeys (753885) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:24PM (#28642521) Journal
    http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/mice_pointers/mice/devices/2987&cl=us,en [logitech.com]
    the mouse I use for programming is an older variant of this one. I've been quite happy with it. scroll wheel has nice feedback for flipping thru code, it's heavy and has a nice solid feel.

    I am in no way affiliated with logitech, I just like their stuff.
  • I'm enjoying my Logitech MX Revolution, has 3 buttons, a thumbwheel and a scrollwheel with swivel(so, 5 buttons total).

    The click lock is the best feature for the scroll wheel. I hate not having it on my other system.

  • Are you bored? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamapizza (1312801) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:25PM (#28642561)
    Quite possibly the worst ask-slashdot question ever. While we're at it, let's also discuss the best mousepad for programming as well as the best type of wood for desks for programming.
    • by Joe U (443617) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:31PM (#28642633) Homepage Journal

      While we're at it, let's also discuss the best mousepad for programming

      That would be my Windows Vista mousepad that I got at the Vista launch party. It features desk grippyness and mouse paddyness, and a giant windows logo, so I never get tempted to install Linux.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SeanBlader (1354199)
      We can cover mousepads too. http://func-pads.com/ [func-pads.com] let's you customize your own surface and design. Well worth it, and I have more kills in WOW than anyone on my server... Okay no, I don't play WOW, but I use it for programming, and it's easy to keep clean, always tracks well, and has a nice wire holder tat keeps my cable from cutting on the edge of the desk.
  • A keyboard (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rix (54095) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:26PM (#28642575)

    You're welcome.

  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

    A serial Mouse Systems mouse with a middle button. Goes along great with your IBM Model M keyboard.

  • by ciurana (2603) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:32PM (#28642659) Homepage Journal

    Howdy.

    While taste in mice and features vary, one thing I would vouch for, if you're right handed and have a full keyboard, is to learn to use your mouse with your left hand. I worked with Gene Korienek [whenpeoplethink.com] in the early 1990s and we discussed how to optimize mouse motion. Since the page navigation, Return key, and numeric pad are all on your right side, using your mouse with your left hand will make you more effective for some activities such as using spreadsheets, Photoshop, web surfing, etc. I went "mouse southpaw" since then -- super-comfortable.

    Now... for programming I use MacVim and a number of plug-ins and extensions. When I'm programming, unless it's something that's got a GUI or it's iPhone/Mac specific, I seldom use the mouse. One of the biggest advantages of using a keyboard instead of a mouse is sensory memory. There are actions in Vim (and possibly TextMate, emacs, etc.) that you can execute automatically, without thinking about the exact key press sequence, and without having to lift your hands off the keyboard. Check into any of these editors, add the appropriate plug-ins (e.g. "UNIX is my IDE") and see what works best for you. I went from keyboard-only (TurboPascal, Turbo C, vi/UNIX) to GUI IDE (Smalltalk/V, Symantec Cafe, Visual Studio, IDEA) back to keyboard-only for most programming tasks. Now my coding is split between keyboard-only (scripting, Java, C, assembler) and GUI/mouse for only a few environments that leave you no other option (Xcode/Interface Builder).

    Cheers!

    E

  • Gaming Grade (Score:2, Informative)

    by morphon (197363)

    I would absolutely recommend going with a gaming-grade mouse like the Logitech G9, Creative Fata1ity 2020, or one of the new OCZ mice if you need something less expensive. The ones I mentioned have user-adjustable weights, lots of buttons, and ultra-accurate laser tracking. They are wired (reliability, etc...) but you might be able to find something comparable in wireless trim.

    Best of luck - a good mouse is a very valuable computing asset.

  • Works good and is super easy to navigate once you get used to it. It resists crud build up - and it's stationary on your desk. Knowing how free desk space is at a premium in the real world of programming, this works out very, very well. My biggest use of it? The scroll wheel is invaluable for paging through long docs.
  • Evoluent Vertical Mouse [evoluent.com]

    If you have to use a mouse, it might as well be one that isn't going to destroy your wrist.

    It might clash with your stereotypical clicky keyboard [wikipedia.org] but it'll fit right in with that ergonomic keyboard that you actually use.
  • Logitech MX series.

    Light, precise, lot of programmable buttons and lag free.

    Do not use wireless if you need reliability.
  • by Niris (1443675) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:43PM (#28642839)
    I don't get why you would need a mouse for programming.. programming languages are typed, no?
  • The only time I ever use a mouse is when I'm trying to aim for the middle of a line so I can edit something there (I'm sure real programmers have ways to do this really efficiently with a keyboard but I haven't bothered with them, just using gedit myself). For that your only need is accuracy. How high can you score in an FPS with your mouse? Trackpads are, of course, right at the bottom.
  • are for red wines. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Must [wikipedia.org]
  • I was going to ask:
    "What question can I ask that so lame as to be pointless, and will still enrage enough people to cause a flamewar?"

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