Build Tools, Not Solutions

Posted on August 21, 2015 by Dan Keder

A couple of months ago I was on a conference in Berlin (IIRC it was Erlang Factory). After that much time, almost everything I saw there has already evaporated out of my mind. Except one thing, that has been lingering in the back of my mind since then. It’s a quote from the presentation of Robert Virding, one of the designers of the Erlang language:

Build tools, not solutions.

Solutions are single-purpose - they usually only solve one problem (or one instance of the problem), and that’s it. If you want to solve something similar, you have to get (and pay for) a new “solution”. Tools are more universal - they are flexible enough to be used in unexpected ways, many of which were not anticipated by the author.