Tools for the pros

Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.

Steve Jobs

Every profession has its own tools.  As a weekend woodworker I have procured many tools for various techniques.  Knowing what a tool can do is part of the task, but knowing how to use the tool properly is what being a professional is all about.

IT has many sets of tools and techniques that I have used over my ten plus years in software development.  The most basic tool is the Integrated Development Environment or IDE for short.  When I first started in Java development I used Netbeans to work on JSPs and servlets.  The IDEs of today have come a long way and give you much more insight.  When I first began using an IDE to debug Java code I felt like I really started to understand what is happening on the server.  I know work with Eclipse as my Java IDE, it has served me well over the years.  While I worked at Dice we used IntelliJ, it has a lot of nice features that I enjoyed.  Each IDE works in its own way and you have to learn its shortcuts to be effective.

Another tool I use frequently as I have worked a lot with relational databases is SQL Developer.  This is a free tool from Oracle that allows you to look at the database and understand what the data is doing.  This can be helpful when you need to research a production problem and want to see what the underlying data values are.

Many times I find myself working on jQuery and other JavaScript issues.  This is where my favorite browser Chrome comes in.  It has a lot of tools to debug JavaScript that runs on the user’s computer.  I will be honest and say I have a lot to learn about jQuery, but I can usually figure it out along with some help from Chrome and perhaps a few Google searches with an error.

This is just a few of the tools that I use, what is in your toolbox?

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