Tool Agnostic – definition and practical limitations

They do say that everything is best in moderation, including moderation itself – perhaps the same applies to being a tool agnostic.

“Tool Agnostic” is a cool, but relatively obscure, term that describes an approach to technology free from prejudice. I just Googled “tool agnostic” definition, and didn’t really wind up with anything. So, that to me smacks of an opportunity to post one and get this party rolling.

Let’s start with the term “agnostic” itself. From Mirriam-Webster, the #2 definition stands without restricting itself to the subject of religion or God:

Full Definition of agnostic […] 2 :  a person who is

unwilling to commit to an opinion about something

Yes, that’s a good place to start. In fact, that’s just about all we need – we just need to specify what type of agnostic with the term “tool”. I consider myself a “tool agnostic“. Though, I certainly find myself committing to opinions about types of tools.

For everything, there is a time and a place

I don’t mind Mac, Windows, or Linux. I’m equally happy with Photoshop or GIMP. I have Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and IE, and I ain’t afraid to use ’em. I’ve made things on WordPress, Mambo, Joomla, and Drupal – I’ve edited code in a wild variety of editors from VI to emacs to UltraEdit to BBEdit to Notepad++ to whatever editor came with the development suite I’ve found myself working with. I’ve made things in VRML, Java, Flash, JavaScript, and I certainly believe that there is a time and a place for any of the technologies listed above.

Here’s a pretty cool article (from 4 years ago) I stumbled upon looking for the definition of the term: http://therealadam.com/2012/03/11/tool-agnosticism/

Tool Agnostic and the Open Web in 3D

Okay, so I fancy myself a tool agnostic. And here I am, writing a blog where I evangelize about the “open web” and the negative impacts of using “plugins” to achieve interactive content on the web.

Back to our definition of agnostic – “a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something”

Seems I’m quite willing to commit to the opinion that plugins are bad. But if I expand on that, what I’m really committed to is the notion that if I’m going to spend my few idle moments learning new technologies – I’m much less interested in spending that precious time learning new technologies that can only be enjoyed by web-surfers with the moxie to install and configure the required plugins.

This still very much keeps my options open. For example, here’s a list of various WebGL Frameworks, many of which conform to my ideas about plugins, and each of which has strengths and weaknesses as outlined in the table:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WebGL_frameworks

Some I’ve these, I’ve already tried – like three.js. Some of them, I’m sure I’m going to try – like X3DOM and blend4web. I’m willing to accept that each has its ups and downs, its strengths and weaknesses, and its pluses and minuses.

Maybe my thing is that I’m a tool agnostic, as much as my curmudgeonly “opinions” about the use of plugins will allow.

They do say that everything is best in moderation, including moderation itself – perhaps the same applies to being a tool agnostic.

 

 

 

 

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Author: Pete

Editor-in-Chief, Lead Software Developer and Artistic Director @ 3dspace.com

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