Why the best tool gets better results

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As a developer, and general technologist I like shiny gadgets. I also like to use the latest tools of my trade. Before going into this I feel a story coming on… Some time ago I decided to get a new kitchen installed. Now as a self respecting man (I hate DIY) my first thought was to give it a go myself to save a bit of cash, after all how hard could it be? I went down to my local DIY store and picked out the cupboards and the units, the work surface, the handles and all the other bits and bobs you need.

As I started to look at the job in front of me it very quickly dawned on me that a multi-end screw driver, a hacksaw and a couple of power tools were just not going to cut it (no pun intended, well maybe there was). Luckily for me one of my friends is a very skilled carpenter/plumber who did have the right tools. Not only the right tools but lots of them… long story short, with his expertise and an array of tools the job got done, no-one was dismembered and the taps don’t leak.

One thing I learnt from this experience and why it is analogous to the PiggyBank build is how having the right tools make the job much easier. Obviously you need the relevant expertise but lets assume that we do for now.

Just like kitchen remodelling can be done with a basic toolset, so could the PiggyBank short term loan product have been built with notepad and the command prompt. But like kitchen remodelling the end result would have been much less polished and more error prone.

The right tools not only enhance the users expertise they make you faster, more productive, incur less waste and lead to a much better end result.

To illustrate another benefit here is an excerpt from Joel Spolsky’s (@Spolsky) Joel Test.

“Even minor frustrations caused by using underpowered tools add up, making programmers grumpy and unhappy. And a grumpy programmer is an unproductive programmer.”
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000043.html

For programmers and developers the best tools comprise of powerful development spec PCs, great IDEs, testing suites and many other bits of kit.

Lifehacker (@WhitsonGordon & @Lifehacker) provide an annual roundup of tools which I tend to check every time I get a new PC

http://lifehacker.com/5826909/lifehacker-pack-for-windows-our-list-of-the-best-windows-downloads

Mac users, I haven’t forgotten you either… Here is lifehacker’s guide for you

http://lifehacker.com/5826449/lifehacker-pack-for-mac-our-list-of-the-best-free-mac-downloads

So whatever your environment, whatever the language, go forth and find the best tools. You owe it to yourself.

Happy Coding