In the midst of the (richly deserved) negative publicity Google is getting at present, I’d like to focus on a recent Google initiative that is responsive and helpful. The Google Engineering Tools blog affords Google’s toolsmiths a long needed channel for richer dialog with their colleagues than ever more expensive free / open source software conferences and trade shows. At the same time, it may go some distance to addressing the frequent description of Google as being ‘secretive’ about their engineering internals; a description that frankly mystifies me.
Toolsmith resources are rare, offline as well as online, which makes Google’s contribution yet more remarkable. Sorting through my own resources while writing this post, I was struck yet again by how hard toolsmith materials are to find. My toolsmith nature is a big part of what has kept me with Emacs through all these years; the layers of understanding available via EmacsWiki is breathtaking. Some first-rate toolsmiths maintain individual blogs as well, Andy Lester’s Tech Work Love being among the best.
The role of toolsmith is inherently collaborative and interdisciplinary, so I have found collaborative, interdisciplinary toolsmith materials most valuable. For years now, A List Apart has been a fundamental resource for me. The Google Engineering Tools blog may turn out to be another.
What are your favorite toolsmith resources?