Tool agnosticism is good for you

When it comes to programming editors, frameworks, and languages, you’re likely to take one of three stances: marry, boff, or kill. There are tools that you want to use for the rest of your life, tools that you want to moonlight or tinker with, and tools you never want to use again in your life.

Tool antagonism, ranting about the tools you want to kill, is fun. It plays well on internet forums. It goes nicely with beer and friends. But on a team that isn’t using absolutely terrible tools, it’s a waste of time.

Unless your team is bizarrely like-minded, it’s likely some disagreement will arise along the lines of editors, frameworks, and languages. I’ve been that antagonistic guy. We can’t use this language, it has an annoying feature. We can’t use this framework, it doesn’t protect us from an annoying kind of bug. I’ve learned these conversations are a waste of social capital and unnecessarily divisive. Don’t be that guy.

There are usually a few tools that are appropriate to a given task. I often have a preference and choose specific tools for my personal projects. There are others tools that I’m adept at using or have used before, but find minor faults with. I’ve found it way better for me to accept that other, non-preferred tool if it’s already in place or others have convictions about using it. Better to put effort into making the project or product better than spinning wheels on programming arcanery.

When it comes to programmer tools, rational agnosticsm beats antagonism every time. Train yourelf to work amazingly-great with a handful of tools, reach adeptness with a few others, and learn how to think with as many tools as possible.

Adam Keys @therealadam