Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Weapon of choice

Everybody has their favorite when it comes to cars, sports or jeans and the same goes for work tools. Some prefer OS X over Linux or Maven over Gradle and don't even get me started on browser wars.
I've had my share of trying out different tools to choose the ones I want to use but every now and then I change some of my tools. This time I'm telling what my day to day tools currently are and why I changed one of them.

The solid foundation


When I get to choose my tools there's one solid foundation that works as a base for all other tools. This has been my number one choice for over ten years with a little variety over time.

Linux.

No question about it, I've used for years, I know my way around it and it offers everything I need in work and at home. The variety comes from different distributions and desktop environments although those have also been very stable for the past four or five years, Debian has the stability I want and XFCE offers everything I need from a desktop.

Crafting tool


I've used various IDE's over the years for JVM languages and web development. There's one that I haven't tried, IDEA, even though I've heard good things about it.

My choice has been Eclipse and it's variations and plugins for several years now for a few reasons. I know how to work with it, it's open source and therefore free and because it's free (and I'm greedy) I can have the same programming interface at work and at home.

In my current work project all other developers are using IDEA and I'm alone with Eclipse but it hasn't caused any problems at any point. All IDE's have their cons and pros so there's no silver bullet in whatever you choose just choose the one that gives you greatest benefit.

Visual aid


I've done a lot of work with different types of technical web services and a lot of those services are being used from web applications. The browser plays a big part as visual tool and as a debugger to verify that everything works correctly from end to end in addition to the fact that just about everything works via browser nowadays. I've tried all the major candidates and for a few years I've used Google Chrome, until the last stable release. I already had some issues with a few previous releases of Chrome and even used the beta version for a while but finally I got tired of trying to figure out the problems that seemed to just accumulate after each release.

I looked into my toolbox and decided to try out Iceweasel, the Debian fork of Firefox, and still had some issues. After Iceweasel I tried vanilla Firefox and haven't looked back since. Firefox isn't new to me. I've used it for years and switched to Chrome a few years back because it's performance was better and rendering was somewhat nicer to my eye. Now, a few years later, Firefox has risen from the ashes and is my #1 choice for the time being.

I think I'm the only developer in our team who's using Firefox... I'm starting to see pattern here.