Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The New Toys Stack

As I may have mentioned, I've just started a new project. That means we get to make technology choices. We get to pick what tools we'll use for testing, what language we'll use, what libraries (or gems or plugins) we use. It's fun!

It's also a chance to play with new toys. Wanting to try HAML? Here's my chance. Never really got to mess with Watir? Now I can.

But.

It's easy to go too far. There are so many new things to try, and it's easy to get carried away. You wind up using a technology that dies before it gets off the ground. Or you'll wind up using technologies that are great but that don't actually add value.

So when I'm building my new toy stack I put in all the new things I want to try that meet two criteria:
  • I'm actually going to use it now. Not eventually. Not soon. Now.
  • It's moving. It's gaining features and being actively worked.
There are no guarantees when we pick a technology that it will do what we want, or that it will grow with us. But we can try to protect ourselves a little bit by looking for projects that are likely to be useful and that are likely to grow with us.

When you're starting a project, feel free to put some new toys in your stack. Just make sure that you'll be happy with your new toys.

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