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What’s on Your Hard Drive?

In these days of cheap storage, it’s easy to let one’s hard drive fill up with countless bytes of unused garbage. Combine this storage surplus with gigabytes of RAM, and we have a breeding ground for that most conspicuous of “wares”: bloatware. We’ve all seen it, and many of us use it every day. We may have even become comfortable with these overweight tools and now barely recognize them as such. Indeed, they can simultaneously be our greatest enemies and our most familiar friends. Fortunately, there is a place to discuss such matters: Stop by to vent your frustrations, and sing your praises, about the tools you use. We’re listening.

Who: Matt Rasmusson
What industry: Telecommunications
Job title: Software developer
Flavor: Develops on Windows for Windows

Tool I love! XML Spy. This is a great combination of text editor and GUI. In situations where I want the raw XML abstracted away from me, the GUI is great. But I can always switch back to text-editing mode for tasks such as text replacement.

Tool I hate! Oracle SQL*Plus. I only dabble in database development and I find that my simple tasks are more quickly accomplished with SQL Server’s GUI. I hate the rigmarole of opening up the text buffer for editing long SQL statements. It’s a task I have to relearn every time I touch an Oracle system.

Who: Juan Jose Cuellar
What industry: Telecommunications
Job Title: Project leader
Flavor: Develops on Windows, HP-UX for Windows, HP-UX

Tool I love! ConTEXT. You can write whatever you want, it has syntax highlighting, and it’s free. It’s the tool I use to write C, HTML, Perl, CSS, shell scripts, PL/SQL, and Java code.

Tool I hate! Most of them. Most dev tools are too specific, so if you want to use another language, you have to dump your current tool and begin learning a new one. At least 10 percent of the time learning the new language is spent getting comfy with the new tool—a total waste of time.

Who: Trevor Holyoak
What industry: Insurance
Job title: Software developer
Flavor: Develops on Windows for Windows

Tool I love! PowerBuilder. It’s still the best tool to use for writing large database-driven Windows programs. This is primarily because of the DataWindow, but there are also many other features that make it a joy to use.

Tool I hate! Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0. I use it to write low-level programs on an infrequent basis. Every time I pull it out, I have to remember again how to make a simple Windows program without all the extra unnecessary stuff.

Who: Pete Kirkham
What industry: Aerospace
Job title: Software engineer
Flavor: Develops on Windows for Windows

Tool I love! Armed Bear J. This minimalist Java open source text editor is fast and hackable and has nice support for the file formats I use. It has word-based autocompletion rather than IntelliSense so you can edit documentation quickly.

Tool I hate! Rational Rose. It’s very slow and you have to wade through many modal dialogs. Also, you can’t get data in or out in easily usable formats (partly due to XMI 1.x specs). Finally, the tool commits random acts of diagram rearrangement.


Originally published in Queue vol. 3, no. 4
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