Who influences me as a developer
I try to keep up to date with technology in several fields: frontend development, computer graphics, 3D acquisition. By far the largest number of updates is in the frontend development. Every day, there might be 10s of articles, libraries, tools fighting for my attention. I need to prioritize and try only a few, and maybe adopt a small percentage of the ones I try.
Here are the only two factors and their weights I consider when presented with new tools:
- Is this recommended by a known developer? 75%
- Is the tool easy to setup and try? 25%
People who I consider known developers include people who wrote tools widely used by the frontend developers (ie. John Resig, author of jQuery, Ariya Hidayat, author of PhantomJs, etc.) I usually follow them on Twitter and see their postings immediately. An interesting observation: the company they currently work for is irrelevant. They might work at Google / startup / non-profit; it is the person's name that carries weight, not the company currently employing them.
I also trust people I know personally to recommend new stuff. This happens infrequently, but sometimes it does. Often as a part of a meetup presentation, something new is mentioned. This is definitely a sign that I should at least take a look.
A project I consider trying out should:
- clearly state its purpose
- at least one feature that would HOOK me
- solve a couple of PAIN points in the existing process
- zero SHOWSTOPPERS (things that break my work)
- list its dependencies (platform, external services, resources) clearly
- install quickly with one / two commands
- avoid any kind of sign up / jump through steps
I do not care if there is a large company behind the tool. In fact from my experience it will drive my desire to adopt the tool down because:
- The tool is usually close-sourced
- My quality expectations are LOWER
- Probably does not play nicely with others
- The information will be full of promotional BS
Despite promises of support, by now I expect better results from a passionate small team of developers, than large software shops.
Later I needed a continuous build for a public project hosted at bitbucket. I decided to give Codeship a try - and it worked beautifully. I now regularly check out their Testing Tuesday blog posts. They are very personal, developers sharing advices, describing the tools they use or doing video walkthroughs. They even invite guest bloggers to post about their experience using codeship tools.
I do not feel like I am being advertised to, instead I feel I am learning from pretty good software engineers.