The right tool for the right job: Not so simple.

The right tool for the right job, like most things in life, is more complex, more difficult to understand, and takes effort to grasp the reason and benefits of its true meaning.

The argument “the right tool for the right job” is as old as they come. It’s similar in spirit to the old adage that you can’t put a “square peg in a round hole“.

The problem is no scenario is black and white.

You’re on Microsoft Windows so you should use .NET? You’re on Mac so you should use Objective-C and Cocoa? You’re on linux so you should use C and GTK?

The right tool for the right job is not just about price/performance ratios, the primary goal of a language, or what a language has tradionally been used for.

You use a programming language for a task because you’re an expert in that language and you can bend it to your will with greater ease than implementing in a new language.

Business understands this. It’s about efficiency not “perl is for data” and “python is for prototyping” and “C is for algorithms” and “java is for apps.”

It’s not black and white.

Microsoft Office might, in a very base sense, be the best tool for the job if you’re dealing with Microsoft Office format files. But the “right tool for the right job” includes conditions like price, licensing, security risk, training, etc.

Licensing is a big issue. The internet and the FOSS movement, from which we all benefit enormously today, was built on open standards, open protocols and open code.

Stallman understands that we’re where we are today because IT pioneers simply found it easier, better and more fulfilling to craft open source and have all modifications on open source returned back to the source.

We have a great computer ecosystem because the right-tool-right-job mentality did not include the idea that one should go with the status quo which is so often the case when people bring up this argument.

The right tool for the right job, like most things in life, is more complex, more difficult to understand, and takes effort to grasp the reason and benefits of its true meaning.

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