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Monday, May 31, 2010

Ship It! - 2.8 Choosing Tools

Be sure your tools use an open format like XML or plain text.  It makes integration and reporting easier.

Tip 11: Use the best tool for the job

Tip 12: Use open formats to integrate tools

Never have a vital part of your product cycle (such as the build system) written in a niche or non-core technology, especially if only one developer knows it. Use a technology that anyone in the shop can configure and maintain.

Never let a critical technology (like your build system) be created as a technology experiment. Use a tool designed for builds to create your builds, not the cool new technology that a team member wants to learn. There are plenty of non-critical areas for technology learning to take place. Never create automated tools that run on only one machine. Never hard-code dependencies, such as network drives. Put everything you need in your SCM system, and the network drives become unimportant.

Tip 13: Keep critical path technologies familiar

I must admit I'm a tinkerer and need to be aware of introducing shiny new things at the wrong times.  I've also been on the other end of the stick where I had to use a sub-system written in a technology that I wasn't comfortable with. Only the author knew the technology and we ended up using something that more people understood.

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