the most wrong aphorism in software engineering

"The poor craftsman blames his tools"

I loathe this. It has become the reflex for anyone defending dull, brittle tools. At best it is incomplete, I would add:

"...but the good craftsman knows his tools, and chooses appropriately"

No one asks a great painter to create a masterwork with a broom. No one presumes that a maker of fine cars be able to construct one using only elmer's glue. No one suggests that a good carpenter should be as adept with a plastic saw from toys r us.

But in software, we're told that a decent programmer should be able to produce excellent results with whatever tool is dropped in their lap. Indeed, if you can't, then the presumption is that you aren't talented.

last update 2012-03-24