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What’s on Your Hard Drive?

Ahhhh, April. A time to break free from winter’s grasp and begin anew. So along with those parkas and snow blowers, why not pack away some of your less-than-satisfactory dev tools and take a look at this month’s WOYHD. You might just read about the cool new tool you’ve been waiting for. While you’re at it, stop by and send us your rants and raves. If we accept your submission, you’ll win a shiny new Queue coffee mug. What better way to start your spring?

Who: Charles McKnight
What industry: Consulting and systems integrator
Job title: CEO and president
Flavor: Develops on Linux, Solaris, Windows for Linux, Solaris, Windows
Tool I love! Ruby and Rails. Ruby provides an elegant full-featured language that lets me focus on the problem I’m trying to solve by staying out of the way. The Rails Web framework provides a pragmatic approach to creating Web applications that simplifies the coding required to deliver great applications.
Tool I hate! Java. Java seems to be an in-between language that tries to be everything for everyone and ends up doing nothing particularly well. EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) and J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition) are poster children for how not to develop systems, and Java is well down the path to the standard library bloat that C++ is accused of (by Java proponents).

Who: Robert Batzinger
What industry: Education
Job title: Lab supervisor
Flavor: Develops on Linux for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X
Tool I love! Wiki. It allows volunteer programmers on different time schedules to interact with the specs, source code, and documentation when it is convenient to them. Using literate programming techniques and makefiles, you can automatically assemble builds.
Tool I hate! Visual compilers. They put too much emphasis on specifying things graphically by drag and drop. It is hard
to use existing templates and external code tools. Visual compilers do not support groups very well.

Who: Hemant Butti
What industry: Banking/Insurance/Finance/Accounting
Job title: Software engineer
Flavor: Develops on Windows for Windows, Linux
Tool I love! Visual Studio .NET. VS .NET 2003 is sleek, feature rich, and works reliably most of the time. It has a great debugger and integrates very well with other CASE tools such as Visio and Rational Rose.
Tool I hate! JBuilder. I haven’t used it in awhile, but last time I dealt with it, it was a pain to get the tool to work properly. Either the IntelliSense would stop working or the debugger would crash. It was also slow as hell.

Who: Brian Willson
What industry: Education
Job title: Software developer
Flavor: Develops on Linux for Unix, Linux, Windows
Tool I love! Emacs. It’s infinitely extensible, stable, and stays out of my way. It also remains similar across platforms and is readily available. It is a tool that can be adapted to the task language instead of the other way around.
Tool I hate! Eclipse. There are few tools that so many insist on using that so seldom fit the task at hand while demanding so much of the developer. It is extensible, but the plug-in system is less than optimal and breaks between versions.


Originally published in Queue vol. 4, no. 3
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