You are previewing Mythical Man-Month, The: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition.

Mythical Man-Month, The: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition

Cover of Mythical Man-Month, The: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition by Frederick P. Brooks Jr. Published by Addison-Wesley Professional
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Chapter 12. Sharp Tools

A good workman is known by his tools.PROVERB

Even at this late date, many programming projects are still operated like machine shops so far as tools are concerned. Each master mechanic has his own personal set, collected over a lifetime and carefully locked and guarded—the visible evidences of personal skills. Just so, the programmer keeps little editors, sorts, binary dumps, disk space utilities, etc., stashed away in his file.

Such an approach, however, is foolish for a programming project. First, the essential problem is communication, and individualized tools hamper rather than aid communication. Second, the technology changes when one changes machines or working language, so tool lifetime is short. Finally, it ...

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