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Elements of professional working - Tools

From the discussion FrameMaker vs MS Word: Of course one can drill a dowel-hole into a brick wall just using the 'being all around screw driver' - but try that on a concrete wall or for 10s of holes ... Lazy people tend to use the tool they have at hand - and waste their lifetime with frustrating experiences. Professionals use professional tools. [KLD 2015-06-19]

Use industrial strength tools
Avoid the latest feature frenzy, but also outdated tools
Know international and industry relevant standards
Collect figures for estimates

[To top/bottom of page] Use industrial strength tools

Universal tools have their own charm. The Swiss Army Knife is world famous. But it is not this tool which I have in mind when requesting 'real' tools: Imagine those hammer + tong + saw instruments in 'survival kits'. Some of them even have a spoon and a fork attached... If you have a tool with combined functions and the tool breaks, none of the functions can be performed any more.

The other warning concerns the «strength» of a tool: While you can use a Black & Decker concrete drill for a while, a Hilti device will serve you 10 times longer and even has the power to drill 15mm holes. Even tools from major vendors are not always the best choice: Photoshop 5 denies the service with «not enough RAM» although you have 64 MB and PaintShop Pro works fine (because PhotoShop assumes the tempory files on the Windows partition and does not look into the preferences where you have stated a different path!)

Select your tools carefully. Good tools provide a stable kernel and the ability for plug-ins or API's for special tasks. You don't need the ballast of features you never need, which are just marketing arguments (think of most of the MS products).

[To top/bottom of page] Avoid the latest feature frenzy, but also outdated tools

How about a laser level for the carpenter? Soon the battery is empty and he is hapless...

Software vendors tend to blow up their products with features you will never need, but which are good to impress the amateur crowd.

Think about the fact that for 5 cured bugs 1 new bug is introduced. As long as you can live with the known ones (and have a circumvention for them) do net relay on promises of the marketing hype. For recent releases the support data base is empty and support people do not have any knowledge.

On the other hand a very outdated tool (such as version 4 while version 8 is the current one) lets you miss any knowledgeable people at all. You will need to dig in archives to find solutions to your problems.

[To top/bottom of page] Know international and industry relevant standards

Globalisation calls for standardisation – and application of these standards. Amateurs tend to reinvent the wheel and be to proud of their niche solutions. Setting up a project on established standards (such as SGML or PostScript) provides an approved base for a long life time:

… Then you know what I mean by «industry approved standards».

[To top/bottom of page] Collect figures for estimates

In an early state of a project you (and even your client) will have only little insight into the project and its peculiarities. You need to have some figures (and know their dependencies) in your back hand to answer such questions as:


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