re: What Makes Good Developer Tools... Good? VIEW POST


It's all about net decrease in friction:

  • REPLs give instant feedback.
  • modal editing in vi-family editors reduces or eliminates moving your hands away from the home row and substitutes quick, precise keystrokes (11j to move down eleven lines, } to go to the end of the paragraph) for the continuous-feedback process of tracking a target with the mouse.
  • Shougo's work with denite especially is a master class in making disparate processes and flows consistent and intuitive (albeit with a bit of setup effort).
  • the i3 window manager is again keyboard-controllable, even to the point of having a mode for resizing windows.
  • the psql database tool has a whole array of short-enough-to-become-muscle-memory commands that give you information about the schema as you're working in it, and integrates with your choice of editor and pager.
  • in the pagers-for-database-queries department, pspg improves at-a-glance visibility with column pinning, among other niceties.
  • npx eliminates a whole category of $PATH and installation issues.

There are all kinds of ways developer tooling can be good, but what the best tools have in common is that they remove more complexity than they add.

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