Use The Tools, Luke!

April 23, 2006

I’m sometimes amazed how little people pay attention to the tools they’re using. This applies to many aspects of life, but especially well for IT-work.

I switched to Macs couple years ago. I did it mainly because I noticed that my productivity kept deteriorating with Windows. Fairly soon after the switch I felt the joy of workin again – thanks to the new (and right) tools. After that I’ve been actively monitoring my work habbits and trying to shake off any old and worn ones that might need some re-thinking.

For example, Macromedia Dreamweaver was one of my most precious tools for basic Web publishing for a long time. And I mean a long time. Everything worked quite nicely with it so I just got used to fixing its not so good code and to its other annoyances after a while. Eventually I bumped into TextMate and asked myself ”why couldn’t I just use TM and some small ssh/ftp-client instead of DW?”. Well, turns out I did. I sold my DW license (which is hundreds of euros) and bought a TM license for 39 euros. I’ve been happy ever since.

So what’s the lesson here? Go and buy a Mac and live happily ever after? No. The lesson is that you should always use the right tools for the job in hand. You should also be aware what is happening elsewhere. Don’t get stuck with that familiar environment. Explore and experiment! :) By using right tools you’ll be more happy and more productive. It’s Good Karma.

PS. TextMate really is an awesome text editor. This post was inspired by this recent screencast. No wonder why almost every Rails and Django screencasts have so familiar looking editors.

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