These Are Just Tools

Early on in my career I complained to another developer about a particular tool.  I don’t remember what the tool was, probably CVS.  The response I received left me dumbfounded.

“These are just tools.”

JUST TOOLS?  Doubts and questions flooded my brain.  Was I needlessly obsessing over something unimportant?  Licensing costs aside, the business owners clearly do not care what tools I use.  If the business owners don’t care, does that mean it’s automatically unimportant?  I understand the sentiment.  After all, tools are not the end goal.  Shipping beautiful software that provides value is the collective end goal.

I’ve reflected on my coworker’s statement hundreds of times now.  With more experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that the right tools have the ability to increase productivity and sanity.

Proficiency with the right tools will pay dividends in the long term.  Understanding every nuance is not the point.  Get the most ROI by seeking better ways to do common tasks, especially when you have a gut feeling that there must be a better way.  Aim for total automation but settle for reliable rapidity.  Occasionally re-evaluate and try alternatives, but don’t obsess.

Onward to my stack of tools!  In my day job, I mainly write Java and JavaScript.  My development setup consists of:

  • vim
  • IntelliJ
  • Beyond Compare
  • Git
  • Sequel Pro
  • CyberDuck
  • oh-my-zsh
  • iTerm
  • XCode Network Link Conditioner
  • Chrome
  • Redux Dev Tools
  • Postman
  • 1Password
  • Docker

In subsequent pots, I’ll detail how I landed on these tools and maybe share war stories.

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