company standards, de facto standards and your favorite tool
Ever worked for a company that equips all of their employees with the same tools (those with the same job description of course)? This is how we work here. You have to use this IDE and that virtual machine player.
Ever switched to your favorite tool instead?
Years ago (literally) I was working on a clarification plant doing some IT stuff. As you might imagine most of the workers on the plant were dealing with physical tools rather than virtual ones. I think that is exactly the environment in mind when people want to standardize tools.
Each worker was given a the same set of screwdrivers, a hammer, wrenches, you name it. Well in fact they weren’t. Each new employee was given the same set of new tools but the tools were never quite the same as the old ones sometimes have not been available so a set of different screwdrivers was ordered.
And guess what. People were having favorites. Hammers get lost to get a new one.
The same is true for developers. Some like to use Eclipse others Netbeans or ZendStudio or PHPStorm or something else entirely like Textmate or Vim. If a company standard if set it will most likely be bypassed.
There are some de facto standard that everybody accepts – though sometimes with a gnashing of teeth – like Microsoft Office including Powerpoint and Outlook, like Subversion instead of Git and sometimes Windows instead of OSX or Linux.
But tools, the small programs you work with are a different matter. You accept company standards for collaborative tools like version control or continuous integration services basically everything that is used by more than one user/colleague.
For all the rest you will probably choose the tools that suit you best. You choose the hammer that fits your hand and which weight feels right for the tasks at hand.
The more company standards enter your daily business the more they become an annoyance. Tools are there to assist and get some work done instead of requiring a change of habit from you. I never really understood why employees should be forced to use specific tools rather than keep their tools within a certain budget.
I’d gladly buy any license that’s reasonable priced if that gets a developer working. I would even make it a personal license so he/she can use it privately as that will keep me from keeping an overview and collecting licenses from past time employees. It would also make employees work more with these tools which will train them even further.