Balancing New Tools and Technologies vs. Risk

Ellen Shapiro

Your engineering team wants to dive deeply into the newest programming tool or next generation technology for a mission critical project. How do you balance the promised rewards of a new language, software tool, or hardware technology with the risks of unstable software, hardware that does not work as promised, or new tools that are abandoned? Ellen Shapiro describes how the iOS and Android teams at Vokal approach all the new tools and technologies they evaluate. Discussing manufacturer-built and supported languages like Swift, cutting-edge projects like JetBrains' JVM language Kotlin, Functional Reactive Programming, and the Realm database, Ellen shares how Vokal decides to pursue and test new technologies—and the consequences of those decisions. Once a new tool is ready to test, explore how to take it for a test drive without going down a rabbit hole. Once you’ve decided to try something in production, see how to select the best pieces of your app to work with a new technology—or when to simply rip off the Band-Aid and go all in on the new hotness. Finally, Ellen shares some of Vokal’s mistakes in adopting new tools and technologies, so you and your team can avoid the same problems.

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