Better Living Through IDEs

I’ve recently been playing with Ruby on Rails and Ruby in general. One of the first things I do when looking at a new language is check out what development tools exist. Coming from Visual Studio, I like to see that there is a fully featured IDE available for me to develop with. I did a little research, but came up short of exactly what I was looking for. So, I put out a question to the comp.lang.ruby group asking for help finding an IDE*. One result of my question was an ensuing debate about how useful IDEs are. How useful are they? Are they only for beginners?

My short answer to those questions are very and no. While IDEs greatly help somebody new to a language, experienced developers can also benefit from the features inherent to an IDE. I’d much prefer an IDE which highlights an error in my typing or syntax as I write as opposed to when I try to compile the code or run the script (do you prefer spell check while you’re writing a letter or as an afterthought upon completion?). I much prefer a sophisticated debugger that’s integrated into the development environment as opposed to one that’s a pain to set up or even worse, a series of print statements to track down a bug.
There is a group of developers who eschew the use of IDEs and claim that a real pro will stick to emacs or vi. This is just one point of view that I am completely unable to understand. I've worked with and without an IDE and the later always produces quicker, easier results (within the same language) than the former.

A common argument is that you really only need a full IDE if you're developing in something like Java or .NET. Well even if you’re writing only a couple hundred line script, what do you have to lose? Since you’re already using the best tools(#9), you won’t have a problem with the extra overhead that the IDE occupies. I've also seen the argument that test driven development eliminates the need for a debugger. If that's correct, then test driven development eliminates bugs completely and thus the need for QA. Somehow I doubt that most development shops would be comfortable with that conclusion.
I’m aware that this could turn into “The Great CodeSnipers Flamewar of ‘05”, but what does everyone else think? What kind of software projects are you involved with? Is an IDE overkill for certain scenarios?

* - The thread can be found here.

One vote for IDEs

If it's worth a damn, use the IDE. I used to do perl in notepad, until I discovered Komodo. And Eclipse has a nifty 'snippet' feature that lets you do quick-n-dirty stuff with very little fuss.

I think you're on the right track

I *hate* IDE's that hide the details from me. I understand putting them off to the side, but I want to actually be able to find them.

I happen to like Eclipse's support for refactoring. I use it regularly for the basic refactorings.