Half the battle is getting it working

Unit testing in XCode.  Using Git with ProjectLocker (or at all).  Using Eclipse for C++ development.  These and many other things had been lingering on my todo list far too long before they actually got done.  And basically this is because I tried them once, and it wasn’t a straightforward path to get them working.

When adopting a new tool, or trying out a new way of doing things, half the battle can turn out to be actually getting it working the way it’s supposed to.  Sometimes, such as when changing to Scrum or XP, learning 3D modelling, or trying to use any of Adobe’s top-shelf applications, this is because it’s hard to learn.  Old ideas or techniques or heuristics need to be thrown out and I have to try and learn from step one in a strange new world that looks eerily like the same computer I was just happily using Visual Studio on.

Some other times, however, it’s not so much a challenge as it is a bare-knuckles bar brawl with the ghost in the machine.  Unit testing with XCode, for example, threw up a random “unknown error” message that Google was powerless against.  It could only be fixed by completing removing, reinstalling and then updating XCode to the Snow Leopard exclusive version.  Eclipse seemed to gag on its own shirt shortly after the installation procedure finished, and a tutorial that was almost 3 versions behind didn’t help.  Eventually a friendly guru helped me to set it up, and I now have a half-dozen *nix-based command-line tools installed on my system that I’m only slowly learning about one at a time.

Git is a similar story.  Like Eclipse, it seems like a damn good idea in theory.  In practice, it requires setting up security keys, which requires ssh, which requires installing yet another half-dozen unknown nix-based command line tools into my windows with blurred lines regarding where the Windows prompt ends and the Nix-prompt begins.  In the end – and I thought I’d never say this – thank god I had a Mac.  With everything already set up in it’s distant-cousin-to-Unix OS, installing and setting up git finally become a “follow the tutorial” affair.  Which was all prompted by wanting the latest version of the fantastic App-Sales Mobile.

Anyway, rambling aside my message for this week is: sometimes trying something new is hard because it takes a refocus, sometimes it’s just not as easy to set up as possible.  If anyone reads this thing, feel free to leave your own comments about installs or set-ups that were way harder than they needed to be, and how you eventually conquered them.

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