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What's on Your Hard Drive?

If you visited the Queue Web site recently, you will have noticed an invitation to tell us about tools that you use - how they make your life wonderful or how they make your life a living hell. Every month the editors will carefully select four of these submissions from the millions received. If you're one of the chosen, you'll receive a complimentary (and oh so very flattering) Queue t-shirt, the holy grail of the software development industry. To find out more, visit our Web site:

Who: Abhijit Deb
What industry: Insurance
Where: Annandale, Virginia
Flavor: Develops on Windows NT for Unix
Tool I love! Eclipse. Being open source is one thing, and being of high quality is another. Eclipse meets both criteria and provides an excellent platform for developing applications in any language of your choosing. There are hundreds of high-quality plug-ins available for Eclipse, which makes the deal even sweeter. And you know what is best about it: it's completely free.
Tool I hate! IBM's CICS (Customer Information Control System). It is mostly awful! It does not provide an intuitive way of developing applications. It is not even objectoriented. Hence, what is there to love about it?

Who: Michael Russell
What industry: City government
Where: Layton, Utah
Flavor: Develops on Windows XP for Windows 98 and Windows XP
Tool I love! Microsoft Virtual PC 2004. With Virtual PC, you can easily test on multiple OS images, and thanks to undo disks, can just as easily return the OS images to a pristine state. It's a must for any developers who want their stuff to work on other people's desktops.
Tool I hate! Releasing code to the public. It's not a tool, but I hate it, anyway. I've released a lot of code to the public since starting here and I've learned one thing: Those who can, code; those who cannot, critique. While peer review is invaluable, proper peer selection can definitely increase its effectiveness.

Who: Michael Bernstein
What industry: Consulting
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
Flavor: Develops on Linux and Windows 2000 for Linux
Tool I love! Python. Clear syntax and legible code mean that not only will code work the first time it is run, but I can understand my own code (and anyone else�s) months or years later. Well-crafted extensive standard libraries mean I hardly ever have to reinvent the wheel, and the deep object orientation allows easy division of a project into welldefined packages and modules.
Tool I hate! Perl. Its resemblance to executable line-noise makes it very difficult for me to understand my own code, let alone anyone else�s. Whole libraries of code are routinely thrown away and recoded.

Who: Mark Pauley
What industry: Programmer for technology
Where: Santa Cruz, California
Flavor: Develops on Mac OS X for Unix
Tool I love! GNU Emacs. It does everything (Perforce Integration, CVS integration, <tool name here> integration). Anything it doesn�t do, I can add. I find that once I learn its ins and outs, my cursor cuts through the source like a hot knife through butter. I also like the multi-buffer facilities; I don�t need a shell open; I find the Emacs shell to be better than an xterm.
Tool I hate! Visual Studio .NET. Bulky, crashy, autocomplete gets in the way. Not as easily extensible, expensive. There is no way I could afford to pay for this program, and why would I want to when there are open source alternatives that I can fix or extend?


Originally published in Queue vol. 2, no. 5
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