Do Developers (and Data Analysts) Need a Second Monitor?

On Datamation yesterday, Eric Spiegel asked, “Do Developers Really Need A Second Monitor?” The discussion rages on at Slashdot.

There is no such thing as too much desktop, as far as I’m concerned. In my experience, all software developers can increase their productivity with a second (and even a third) monitor. Data analysts and scientists can also increase their productivity with a second monitor.

At work, I leave my 1920 x 1200 laptop screen open to serve as a second monitor, and for work at home I bought a second 1680 x 1050 monitor a few years ago. What windows do I place on my main monitor? My IDE’s window and the web page I’m currently working on. What windows do I place on my secondary monitor? My email program, my journal document where I track what I’m working on, and my primary Cygwin console window from which I launch additional mintty windows. I often also need to make space for a spreadsheet window and a bioinformatics tool window. If I had a third monitor, I know where those extra windows would end up!


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