Download PDF version of this article PDF

What's on Your Hard Drive?

If you have 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 flatter-ing) Queue t-shirt, the Holy Grail of the software development industry. To find out more, visit our Web site:

Who: Greg Rollins

What industry: Software development

Where: Anniston, Alabama

Flavor: Develops on Windows XP for Win32, Linux

Tool I love! Perl. Most of my work is prototyping. Perl allows me to quickly put together a prototype of a sophisticated system and pass the design on to someone else to refine. I can quickly accomplish a lot in a few lines of code.

Tool I hate! Java, because of its verbosity, abundance of specifications, and paucity of implementation. (“Hate” may be too strong, I just dislike it.) I use Java regularly, and it is one of the tools we use to develop for our customers. It’s difficult for me to fall in love with it.


Who: S.W. Schilke

What industry: IT consulting

Where: Nidderu, Hessen, Germany

Flavor: Develops on Windows for Windows

Tool I love! JBuilder / Eclipse / Netbeans. It’s cool and it works. You get stuff done. The wizards make your life easy. Java is cool; you just need a good native code compiler. Platform-independent development lets you develop without having to bother where your stuff runs.

Tool I hate! SAP. It’s horrible. It’s like the final punishment to develop for SAP. Gazillions of tables and rows, customizing three weeks just to get the basic tweaking done. SAP is hell.


Who: Eric Grejda

What industry: Government

Where: Allison Park, Pennsylvania

Flavor: Develops on Windows XP, Linux for Linux

Tool I love! Vi. It’s short, sweet, and to the point. It does exactly what I need it to do, without a lot of eye/candy or cruft. I can do everything I need without having to take my hands from the keyboard. It’s also available on so many different operating systems that I had to learn it only once.

Tool I hate! Visual anything. They’re too complex and bogged down with features I never use. Features I actually do need are rarely where one would think they’d be, which slows down development time. I’d rather be coding, not searching for a command.


Who: Anthony Kimball

What industry: Application service provider

Where: Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Flavor: Develops on Linux for Windows

Tool I love! Eclipse. Transcendentally versatile, emphatically cross-platform, amazingly cheap, rapidly expanding, continually improving, and sublimely intuitive, Eclipse is where I want to go tomorrow, today. It embodies the same portability and reusability that it facilitates and promotes, and makes it easy to produce lasting value with code that will survive its creator.

Tool I hate! Visual Studio. It systematically undermines every attempt to produce reusable or portable code. Spending time writing code in Visual Studio, one sees one’s blood, sweat, and tears swirling down the drain into one-off oblivion.


Originally published in Queue vol. 2, no. 7
see this item in the ACM Digital Library


© ACM, Inc. All Rights Reserved.