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After spending a good amount of time with Intel Visual Fortran, I’ve decided to make the jump and switch over to Approximatrix’s Simply Fortran.
There’s a few different reasons for this, but mainly it comes down to ease of use. No doubt that IVF has the best compiler, but the IDE and Package Manager of SF can make life much more easy. For example, the new Package Manager lets you choose from a number of commonly-used libraries that it can automatically down and install for you.
“Big deal,” you might say. And I certainly wouldn’t blame you for thinking that. But I would counter with a discussion of 3rd party library cross-compilation and how difficult it can be on a Windows platform. Even with step-by-step instructions, the difficulty and learning curve is very high.
So how does SF make things easier? Well, Approximatrix compiles and puts together everything for you. The Package Manager simply downloads and copies the files to the appropriate directory. No more having to compile obscure UNIX/Linux libraries for Windows on your own. For veterans, this may not be a big deal, but for someone new to Fortran (me!), this simplifies things tremendously and lets me focus on development rather than compilation.
Coming up, how to quickly and easily build a GUI for your Fortran program (which is another reason for switching over from IVF).
UPDATE (5/8/2014): After learning more about Intel Parallel Studio (which includes the Intel Visual Fortran IDE and compiler), I’ve switched back over to Intel. The static and dynamic analysis capabilities of IVF are pretty amazing. As are the MKL libraries. MKL auto detects the number of cores/processors available and uses them for the more intense calculations.