In many jobs, there are a variety of tools that people use on a regular basis. Chefs buy knives, mechanics buy tools, doctors buy stethoscopes, etc. While many of us in technology don't always have to buy tools, some of us certainly do. When there is value and it makes sense, many of us have purchased IDEs or add-ins or a utility that makes our work easier.
Our tools are different than physical ones. We need a place to install them, but we often have employer-owned workstations, which complicates matters with licensing and rights to install. Bringing tools with you, or taking them with you, is often a strange situation, especially as our tools often need "privileges" to connect to other systems, which may be a problem for many employers.
Many organizations do provide some tools, and we can certainly build others. We know how to write scripts, utilities, code generators, and more. We may get an IDE or some other commercial tool, which often ensures that all team members work in the same manner, though we may find a need to extend or configure how it works. My employer, Redgate Software, builds tools like this for database developers, and we strive to ensure that our tools make your job easier, and we try to ensure you can extend or integrate our tools into your work.
Forgetting the hassles of purchase and installs, today I'm wondering what you think about the tool you do use. What tools do you use, and what are the limitations or hassles you find? Are there issues with your tools that inhibit productivity? These might be ones someone in your organization has written, or those they've purchased. Or maybe you've extended some tools to work in a different way and you're proud of your work. Let us know about how tools might dramatically help or inhibit your efficiency.