Carpenters have lots of tools to pick from. Drills, impact drivers, circular saws, and miter saws; each tool may be really good for a specific purpose and a great carpenter will know when to use each one. However, the best carpenter is not necessarily the one who uses the most tools, but the one who best knows how to use the tools he has to get the job done quickly and accurately.

Projects often spend a lot of time discussing what technologies to use. These conversations are important, but technology is ultimately about enabling productivity. Taking a look into these conversations gives us insight into what might be the right technology for a project, but also what challenges a team is concerned about. Good engineering teams can distill problems down to their core concerns. This helps them know whether a technology choice is a true solution or a scapegoat for deeper issues.

Teams rightfully make decisions based on their past experience. A newly assembled team might look to use the technologies they are most familiar with. A team that also supports a legacy application may be looking to avoid the maintenance they are currently doing in a future project. People are attracted to new and exciting tools they hear mentioned by their peers. With so many tools available, it’s easy for teams to overstate the importance of which tools they use and miss the adjustments that can be made with the tools they have.

Looking at common technology choices

Recognizing the human elements of decision making, let’s look at some commonly debated tools to identify the different strategies they employ but also adjustments that can be made to optimize the tools teams may already be using. These comparisons are not meant to be comprehensive or an endorsement of one over the other. Rather, the goal is to see where teams have room for improvement.

  • Microservices vs Monoliths
  • Monorepos vs Polyrepos
  • Cloud vs On-premise
  • Rewrites vs Upgrades

To read more about these technology choices, check out my full post on the SitPen blog.