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Back in university, we were able to print "unlimited" printouts on wide fanfold paper, (perhaps 128 characters wide or maybe more). I could then unfurl the printed code out across the desks or the room and get a great overview of my code, draw circles and arrows and a paragraph on each one in the wide margin, see if this code matched that code, tweak variable names by seeing their brethren, etc, and I loved it.

Right now I'm using xcode for iOS programming, but the question comes up no matter what editor I've used: how can I get a good code overview that's bigger than my screen?

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Two simple things:

  • only write functions that fit on one screen
  • use a dual screen display (which is quite affordable nowadays)

The last time I needed a "fanfold paper printout" of some code was for a legacy function with several hundreds LOC. After refactoring this monster into small functions I never missed fanfold printouts again.

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I generally do write short functions; but I often want to compare the functions to each other, or see if they should be re-ordered in a more meaningful way. I have dual screens; maybe I should arrange them physically above one another... –  Thunder Rabbit May 22 '12 at 11:18
    
@ThunderRabbit: perhaps you should try to write even shorter functions, like Bob Martin ;-) –  Doc Brown May 22 '12 at 11:49
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@ThunderRabbit, have you ever seriously investigated Emacs, specifically electric-diff and the various split-screen commands? It is IDEAL for comparing functions this way? –  John R. Strohm May 22 '12 at 12:15
    
+1 for "only write functions that fit on one screen". Unfortunately, most programmers these days seem to have been taught that run-on stream-of-consciousness code, with routines that go for hundreds of lines, is The Way To Go. –  John R. Strohm May 22 '12 at 12:17
    
@JohnR.Strohm I've been using Emacs for years, though less and less for programming as I go. I've not seen that particular mode (?) so thank you for mentioning it. I'll try to see if it will play nicely with xcode. –  Thunder Rabbit May 22 '12 at 12:21
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