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Iceni Magazine | October 23, 2017

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Know your plumbers from your electricians: The right tool for the job

Know your plumbers from your electricians: The right tool for the job

As software developers, we at Naked Element, are skilled and experienced in a number of different programming languages (see below) and aware of many, many more.

Choosing the right programming language for a piece of software is as important as choosing a hammer to knock in a nail, a flat headed screw driver for a flat headed screw and a cross headed screwdriver for cross headed screw. However with software it’s far more complicated as there isn’t always just one tool for the job.

It’s also important to consider the skills you have at hand. For example, you wouldn’t usually ask a plumber to fix your electrics or an electrician to fix your plumbing. However, given enough time most plumbers could learn to do electrics and vice versa. Generally people with a talent for practical things can easily pick up other practical skills. It’s the same with software developers, but you have to consider whether the investment in new skills will return sufficient results in an acceptable time frame, or whether to risk compromising your margins by bringing in already experienced outside help. It’s not an easy decision!

Software developers (the good ones at least) love learning new things – programming languages in particular – but there are divisions of course. Some software developers are only interested in writing software for Microsoft Windows, for example, or for Open Source (see below) platforms such as Linux and the tools they use are quite different. It’s even more pronounced with Android developers and iPhone developers! You don’t often get developers who like a bit of everything, but it does happen, and those are the sorts of developers we have at Naked Element.

It’s true that we’d happily write Java (a general purpose programming language aimed at open source software development) all day long, but that wouldn’t allow us to develop complete pieces of software. We regularly use various combinations of Java, Ruby on Rails and JavaScript in order to get the best result. We’ve turned our hand to Python and, more recently, Microsoft core languages such as C# and VB.net too. It depends what our clients need and our assessment of the right tool for the job. Sometimes it’s not even about choosing a programming language. Sometimes it’s about choosing pre-built software, such as WordPress, and customising it to our client’s needs. We wouldn’t use WordPress for anything more complicated than a simple e-commerce system, but for websites, including ours, it’s the right tool for the job.

So when you’re choosing your software development partner, consider whether they’re using the right tools for your project or whether they’re just using the hammer they’re familiar with to knock in your screw.

What’s a Programming Language?

A programming language is a formal language that specifies a set of instructions that can be used to produce various kinds of output. Programming languages generally consist of instructions for a computer. Programming languages can be used to create programs that implement specific algorithms. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programming_language)

Open Source

Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software)


 

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