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Software Development Tools

Many of the software development tools we have right now seem to be targeted toward ease of use/ease of learning but in the process they don't cater to the experienced developer. They typically have a really nice drag-and-drop user interface, but are practically impossible to script so that they can be combined with other tools to undertake larger tasks.

Maybe we could say that emacs comes close to being an effective tool for a master craftsman, since many fantastic extensions have been built on top of emacs, but the problem with using this as an example is that few developers have had the time to learn enough about emacs to appreciate its power. Yes, emacs is just one example—other development tools out there are just as powerful—but all suffer from the fact that few developers really take the time to become skilled in their use.

I predict that over time, developers who adopt the craftsmanship approach will take the time to learn their toolset really well and in the process will become extraordinarily productive. As Hunt and Thomas say in their book The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master (Addison Wesley, 1999, ISBN 0-201-61622-X):

Tools amplify your talent. The better your tools, and the better you know how to use them, the more productive you can be.

For me the big question is this: How do we raise the skill level and experience of developers so that we can make much better use of the tools that we have available?

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