I have a tendency to talk about the importance of finding optimal development tools that work best for you, that fit your workflow, and that improve your productivity.
And I stand by those statements.
But sometimes I wonder if the things that I’ve said don’t come across as mutually exclusive (or even sometimes partially exclusive, if that’s a thing). This is true especially when I talk about things like why I switched from an IDE to a text editor to handle my development tasks.
Anything other than that is never my intent (though I can completely see how someone may interpret my perspective that way).
What I mean is this:
Whenever I share information about what I opt to use, I do so in a way where I mean to give information as to why it works for me.
Admittedly, sometimes I’m better at doing that than others.
Optimal Development Tools
At this point, I’m pretty locked in with the tools that I use. This doesn’t mean I’m not open to change (because I am).
And here’s what I think is important:
It’s okay to have a different set of tools than what others think you need, but it’s important to have reasons to justify why you prefer your tools over their recommendations.
For example, there are times where others have told me I should be using certain build tools or database clients over others.
People have even blogged about this. I’m not kidding.
And the thing is, the points they make are really good, and they are entirely accurate in the statements they are making. Generally speaking, most of them are also coming from a place of just wanting to make sure we are as productive as possible, and I really appreciate that.
They are on our side, so to speak. And this is a good thing because, in the development community, we’re often faced with elitism and snark when it comes to using a tool of choice that might be against whatever program a group of developers thinks we should be using.
With that said, I’m someone who’s willing to give other tools an entirely fair trial to see how it stacks up against my current workflow.
For whatever it’s worth, this is something I think all of us should do. I mean, it only makes sense, doesn’t it?
Here’s the thing:
The next time that someone recommends you use something, you try something, or provides you with an alternative to something you’re already using, don’t scoff.
Aside from being rude, it comes off as arrogant (which is ironically what some on “the other side” demonstrate, right?).
Instead, look at what they are offering. Ask them, if needed, the reasons why they think you should switch, and then give it a fair try.
My Final Set of Tools?
This is something I’ve done for at least the past ten years, and I’ve never regretted it. Does this mean I always use something recommended to me by someone else?
Not at all.
But I do have my reasons for using the tools that I do. And some of the tools I use, and the reasons for using them, are all my own whereas some of them are things that I would’ve never tried without the insight and input from other developers.