There isn’t a proven one-size-fits-all method for selecting a software tool. Many IT professionals recommend devising a list of necessary features and a thorough evaluation of product offerings, but that’s just not Jake Kooper’s style.
Kooper, who develops mobile applications as a side project for Whitewater Labs, takes a different approach. “I don’t sit down with a checklist and go one, two three, this is what needs to happen,” he said. “I don’t read anything on their [vendor] website. I just sign up and see what happens.”
While Kooper admits his tool selection method may not be appropriate for everyone, it’s what works for him. As a developer, he said he learns best by taking a hands-on approach, rather than looking at infographics and reading lengthy documents.
By visiting a vendor’s website and downloading samples, Kooper is able to start building an application right away and get a feel for how the tool really works. When he runs into a problem, that is when he turns to documentation.
What defines a good tool is quite simple in Kooper’s mind. “At the end of the day, you want to just make sure the product does what you need it to do,” he said.
How do you go about selecting a tool? Are you the type to follow a stringent plan or do you just wing it? Are there any special tips or tricks you use?