Go with the grain

Go with the grain. When you’re planing wood, you have to follow the grain of the wood. The grain has a direction, which depends on the cut of the wood. (which is the way it grew). Do that and you’ll end up with thin shavings and a smooth finish.. Go against the grain, and you’ll rip out chunks.

I’ve worked with Ant builds that did the same thing. Instead of using the features of the tool the way they grew, people have fought against them. The result is usually expensive and wasteful.

Many of our tools (in my opinion, the best ones) are optimized to do one thing well: that’s their grain. Go with it, or choose another.

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4 thoughts on “Go with the grain

  1. MikeNereson says:

    Nice. Great analogy.

  2. Edward Ciramella says:

    My favorite example of this is the ejb task. I remember how everyone said it didn’t work, but the truth was, they didn’t have it configured correctly. This generally ends up with custom tasks or exec statements, etc.


  3. Julian Kelsey says:

    Indeed, and tool makers could do us all a great service by saying more clearly what their tools are not good for, perhaps being a little more honest to themselves about what their tools are good for.

    • Julian Simpson says:

      Mike, Julian, EJ:

      Thanks for the comments. Sad that the toolset we have is so littered with dragons sometimes.

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