Thanksgiving Day Special: Grateful Developer

Heinz Alvarez

I stumbled upon an article today, written and published online by a software developer. It is very timely as we observe this year's Thanksgiving Day. Neil McAllister shares his reasons to be grateful as a software developer.

Open Source Tools. Nowadays, compilers, libraries, editors, linkers, and debuggers come free for software developers. Gone are the days when they had to pay for access to header files. It is definitely “not okay” for tools vendors, but something to be grateful for among developers.

Online Document and Support. The days of printed programming manuals on physical books were over too. Thanks to the internet - instant access to thousands of pages of tutorial and reference material is just a click away! Mailing lists, message boards, wiki-based documentation, and crowd-sourced Q&A shared on social media
platforms have been significantly helpful too.

Modern IDEs. “Automatic error checking, class browsers, instant documentation -- the list of advantages goes on. Stick to command-line tools if you prefer, but if you've never learned your way around an IDE like Eclipse or Visual Studio, you're probably not as productive as you could be.” wrote McAllister.

Desktop Virtualization. For software developers, coding is one thing; testing and QA is another. Desktop virtualization has wiped the need for multiple workstations. McAllister mentioned VMware Workstation's snapshot management capabilities. With just a few clicks, developers can do multiple tasks at the same time, all from the same window on a desktop.

Distributed Version Control. Thanks again to the open source movement. Where once version control might have seemed like a formality, the community-based development model made it a necessity, which led to the development of modern, distributed version control systems like Git and Mercurial that allow developers
continuous access to source code trees anytime and wherever they are in the world.

I encourage you to read Neil McAllister’s entire article because it is insightful. We at Otter Labs greet you with a happy Thanksgiving, and we hope that you’ll find time to stay away from your computers to relax this week.