What Is a Software Tool?

We use a wide range of tools to construct software; they are programs that build programs—if that isn’t too philosophical. Everything we use to create software is a tool of some form. Some tools help you write code. Some help you write good code. Some help sort out the mess of code you just created.

They come in all shapes and sizes and work in different ways. Obviously, the platform and environment they inhabit is a factor, but they also differ in:


Some tools are elaborate environments with many, many features and incredible configurability. Some are minuscule utilities for a single task. Each approach has its pros and cons:

  • A feature-rich tool is cool, when you’ve finally learned how to get it to make coffee and ...

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