The Best Development Tools

There are two kinds of great software development tools:

  1. Those that do one thing exceptionally well.
  2. Those that allow you to communicate better with your coworkers.

In some rare cases, you may find that the same tool lives in both categories.

Without an insane focus on exactly one mission, tools get watered down and cumbersome to use.

Quick example: version control tools. When evaluating a tool, ask what else the tool is capable of. If it can also handle bug tracking, feature requests, mailing list management, continuous integration, and monitoring the coffee pot, then back away slowly. Seriously. You want a version control system that is tightly focused on its core mission and nothing else.

Yes, you need those other capabilities, but you're better off getting them from a different tool and then integrating the two. I know, I know, it sounds like such a great idea to have everything under one roof, one vendor to contact, etc. The reality is that you end up with a comprehensive, tightly integrated set of weak tools.

Posted on 2009-01-14 by brian in tools .


How would you rate a tool like Accurev which is not just version control, but not full suite ALM either?


2009-01-14 18:25:16

Mark -

I used Accurev (as an admin and developer) for five years, both VC and the integrated bug tracker (Accuwork).

The VC part of the tool works great. Good value, awesome support, minimal training required for day to day use.

The bug tracker is weak. We used it, and it ended up that we couldn't really justify migrating away (it wasn't awful).

If you like the way Accurev does VC, buy it, but don't use Accuwork. Use their "Accubridge" product to connect Accurev to a real bug tracker.

I can't speak for their other offerings as we just used Accurev and Accuwork.

2009-01-14 18:35:17

Thanks for the fast response! That's what we've heard from users as well. I'd also say they were impressed with the way Accurev managed process as well, but did recommend using Jira or another bug tracker if we needed more than the basics. New web interface looks pretty cool though. I'll weigh it in.

Thank you again.


2009-01-14 19:50:21

Great post, couldn't agree more!!

I'm with Atlassian and we have a great set of development tools, but we would never consider them a suite. As you say, the best development tools are built for a single purpose, not just to complement something else.

Ken Olofsen
2009-01-15 01:48:10
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