Own your development tools, and other cooking metaphors

Noel Rappin encourages all of us to use our development tools efficiently. If your editor or workflow aren’t working for you, get a new tool and learn to use it.

I’ve been working with another principle lately: minimize moving parts. I used to spend time setting up tools like autotest, guard, or spork. But it ended up that I spent too much time tweaking them or, even worse, figuring out exactly how they were working.

I’ve since adopted a much simpler workflow. Just a terminal, a text editor, and some scripts/functions/aliases/etc. for running the stuff I do all the time. I take note when I’m doing something repeatedly and figure out how I can automate it. Besides that, I don’t spend much time thinking about my tools. I spend time thinking about the problem in front of me. It makes a lot of sense, when you think about it.

I say you should “own” your tools and minimize moving parts because you should understand how they all work together and how they might change the behavior of your code. If you don’t own your tools in this way, you’ll end up wasting time debugging someone else’s code, i.e. a misbehaving tool. That’s just a waste of time; when you come across a tool that offends in this way, put aside a time block to fix it, or discard it outright.

Adam Keys @therealadam